Michael Spinks was one of five gold medal winners from the legendary 1976 US Olympic Boxing Team that included his brother future heavyweight champion Leon Spinks and middleweight champion Sugar Ray Leonard.
In his 17th fight, Spinks won the light-heavyweight title in 1981 and after ten successful title defenses defeated heavyweight champion Larry Holmes in 1985 in a unanimous decision – becoming the first light-heavyweight to win the heavyweight crown since 1908. Holmes had held the title for seven years and would have tied Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record.
Spinks defeated Holmes again in a split-decision and won two other title defenses, making him 31-0 going into the Tyson match.
When Mike Tyson beat Trevor Berbick in a second round TKO for the WBC crown, he was the youngest heavyweight champion in history at 20 years and four months. Tyson’s domination quickly drew fans, with one commenter noting that boxing
can at least cease worrying about its immediate future, now [that] it has discovered a heavyweight champion fit to stand alongside Dempsey, Tunney, Louis, Marciano and Ali.
Tyson continued to win, including a 4th round TKO against Larry Holmes – the only one in his 75 fight career.
Tyson came into the Spinks fight 34-0 with 30 knockouts.
Held at the Atlantic City Convention Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey and promoted as “once and for all”, it was the richest fight in boxing history to that point, grossing some $70 million,of which Tyson earned a record purse of around $20 million and Spinks $13.5 million.
It was over in 91 seconds.
Spinks would never fight again. It would be the peak for Tyson, as he would successfully defend his title two additional times before losing to Buster Douglas. Tyson would win his next 8 fights, regaining the title which he lost to Evander Holyfield in 1996.