Michael Spinks and Bob Foster are recognized as two of the greatest light heavyweight champions of all-time. Both dominated the light heavyweight division before jumping up to the heavyweight class to make more money. Two legends. But who was the more accomplished champion during their reign, and who would have won the battle if they clashed against each other?
Michael Spinks, 31-1, 21 KO’s was an awkward fighter who delivered punches from various angles. His main weapon was a lethal right hand, which was dubbed “The Spinks Jinx”. Spinks decisioned future super middleweight champion Murray Sutherland, and stopped rugged veterans Yaqui Lopez and Willie Taylor on his way to a title opportunity.
In 1981, Spinks stopped former champion Marvin Johnson in March and then on July 18, defeated Eddie Mustafa Muhammad by 15-round unanimous decision to win the WBA World Light Heavyweight title. In 1983, after defending his crown five successful times, Spinks decisioned WBC World Light Heavyweight champion Dwight Braxton in a unification bout to become the undisputed champion. After three more title defenses, Spinks moved up to the heavyweight division where he would later upset Larry Holmes to win the IBF World Heavyweight title. Among his victims as light heavyweight champion included Vonzell Johnson, Mustafa Wasajja, Murray Sutherland, Jerry Celestine, Johnny Davis and Eddie Davis.
Bob Foster, 56-8-1, 46 KO’s was a deadly puncher with either hand. In 1968, Foster knocked out Dick Tiger in the fourth round to claim the WBA and the WBC World Light Heavyweight belts. The WBA stripped Foster in December 1970 for not defending against Jimmy Dupree, the #1 contender, within the stipulated time. Foster remained the WBC champion. In April 1972, Foster fought Vicente Rondon, who knocked out Dupree to win the vacant WBA title. Foster knocked out Rondon in two rounds to reunify the World Light Heavyweight Championship. “The Deputy Sheriff” made fourteen successful title defenses, which was a division record at that time. His list of victims included Frankie DePaula, Andy Kendall, Hal Carroll, Tommy Hicks, Mike Quarry and Chris Finnegan.
The consensus is that Michael Spinks would have knocked out Bob Foster early if both champions had fought during their primes as king of the light heavyweights. Foster, who was stopped in six of his eight losses, was knocked out by heavyweights (Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali) when he moved up in weight class. “The Spinks Jinx” was a heavyweight punch at the light heavyweight division.
Two legends. Both undisputed light heavyweight champions. However, Michael Spinks, whose resume had the more distinguishable victories, is the more accomplished champion as well.Contact the Feature Writers