Today in History: Muhammad Ali defeats Leon Spinks to win world heavyweight championship

Muhammad Ali through the years
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Today in History: Muhammad Ali defeats Leon Spinks to win world heavyweight championship
American boxer and sometime actor Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) as Eric Sevareid interviews him during an episode of the CBS Evening News, New York, March 24, 1964. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 2,1980: Muhammad Ali (L) throws a punch against Larry Holmes during the fight at Caesars Palace, on October 2,1980 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Larry Holmes won the WBC heavyweight title by a RTD 10. (Photo by: The Ring Magazine/Getty Images)
JUL 14 1981; Ali, Muhammad (Boxer) - Ind.; (Photo By Lyn Alweis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Muhammad Ali will go down as one of the best athletes this country has ever seen. On this day in 1978, the legendary fighter right up one of his top accomplishments: Defeating Leon Spinks at the Louisiana Superdome, taking home the world heavyweight boxing title for the third time. He was the first boxer to ever accomplish the feat thrice.

The fight came shortly before Ali retired from boxing in 1981. He won 56 of his 61 career fights over 20 years -- 37 by way of knockout. The Louisville native turns 74 this coming January.

Click through the gallery above to see Ali's greatest moments, and be sure to watch the video below for some unbelievable facts about the icon's life.

10 Incredible Facts About Muhammad Ali

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