One Punch from the Promised Land

Leon Spinks, Michael Spinks, And The Myth Of The Heavyweight Title


Book Description

It was 1976 when Leon and Michael Spinks first punched their way into America’s living rooms. That year, they became the first brothers to win Olympic gold in the same Games. Shortly thereafter, they became the first brothers to win the heavyweight title: Leon toppled The Greatest, Muhammad Ali; Michael beat the unbeatable Larry Holmes. With a cast of characters that includes Ali, Holmes, Mike Tyson, Gerry Cooney, Dwight Qawi, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and dozens of friends, relatives, and boxing figures, ONE PUNCH FROM THE PROMISED LAND tells the unlikely story of the Spinks brothers. Their rise from the Pruitt-Igoe housing disaster. Their divergent paths of success. And their relationship with America. The book also uncovers stories never before made public: the big paydays, the high living, the backroom deals. It’s not afraid to tackle an issue rarely discussed: Does the heavyweight title deliver on its promise to young men in the inner city? This is the definitive story of Leon and Michael Spinks. And a cross-examination of heavyweight boxing in 20th century America.

About Florio, John

John Florio is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in print, on the web, and on television. He is also the author of the novel, Sugar Pop Moon. Visit him at

Ouisie Shapiro is a five-time Emmy-winning writer and producer of sports documentaries. Her writing credits include HBO's Joe Louis: America's Hero Betrayed; Namath: Beaver Falls to Broadway; and Lombardi. She has also produced ESPN SportsCentury documentaries on Jack Dempsey, Sonny Liston, and Rocky Marciano, among others.