Venue: Superdrome, New Orleans. 15th September, 1978.
Muhammad Ali was hurt by his loss to Spinks. Although gracious in defeat he admitted that he was lousy. Now the promoters, managers and sanctioning bodies that had for so long bow to the will of Herbert Muhammad were in a position to freeze Ali out.
The boxing public wanted a rematch. Spinks was stripped of the WBC belt when he refused to face Ken Norton instead of Ali. The WBC belt would then be disputed between Ken Norton and Larry Holmes, promoted by Don King.
Spinks and his manage held firm an signed to fight Ali for the WBA belt and linear championship. Muhammad Ali had given Lewis his start in the game and Lewis was keen to return the favor.
While Ali trained to regain his title, Lewis had his work cut out controlling the new champion. Spinks was arrested for possession of cocaine and kept breaking training camp.
The though of ali becoming the first man to win the Heavyweight Championship three times really caught the public imagination and 64,000 fans packed into the Superdome to see the contest.
Ali ignored the ropes and grabbed the center of the ring although his timing was slightly off. By round five he began to find his range and tee off on Spinks. Spinks countered by rolling from the waist to try and avoid Ali's scoring jabs. When this failed Spinks would charge at Ali who simply grabbed hold of Spinks until the referee broke them.
Ali controlled the fight. The fight was a slow one, devoid of thrills and Ali gave Spinks a lesson in ring craft. As the last rounds went by, the emotion of the fight began to take over. History was at hand. Ali took a clear decision and the title for the third time.
Nine months later Muhammad Ali announced his retirement from boxing.