Leon Spinks' hopes of regaining some of his past fame by winning the World Boxing Assn. cruiserweight title were threatened late Friday when he nearly failed to meet the 190-pound weight limit for the class.
Spinks, once the more famous of the fighting Spinks brothers after winning an Olympic gold medal and a heavyweight crown, topped out at 191 3/4 pounds at the official weigh-in and was given two hours to come down to the maximum. But he made the weight 1-hour 20-minutes later.
Spinks, who won the light-heavyweight gold medal in 1976 and two years later took Muhammad Ali's heavyweight title, only to lose it to Ali seven months after that, thus saved his shot at the cruiserweight title held by Dwight Muhammad Qawi.
Qawi, 25-2-1 with 14 knockouts, will make his first defense of the title today at 2 p.m. at Lawlor Events Center. Spinks is 17-4-2.
The winner of the fight is scheduled to meet 1984 Olympic light-heavyweight bronze medalist Evander Holyfield July 12 at a site to be determined. But both men still are looking toward a heavyweight title bid.
Qawi's goal is to move up in weight and have another shot at Leon's brother, Michael, who is the International Boxing Federation heavyweight champion.
"After I knock out Leon, I hope Michael has enough guts to give me a rematch," he said. "I owe Michael one." Qawi, the former Dwight Braxton, lost the World Boxing Council light-heavyweight title to Michael Spinks in 1983, 15 months after taking it from Matthew Saad Muhammad.