In his only fight promotion, Don Hubbard brought Muhammad Ali-Leon Spinks title bout to New Orleans _lowres

Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali points at promoters Don Hubbard (right) and Sherman Copelin on Sept. 12, 1978 in New Orleans, saying they are innocent of any wrong doing in connection with charges they were involved in a $1 million ripoff in their handling of the Ali-Spinks fight. Ali said the suit had been dropped and claimed the charges were racially motivated to stifle black enterprise. (AP Photo) ORG XMIT: APHS285331

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the so-called “September to Remember” or “Battle of New Orleans,” the heavyweight championship fight between Muhammad Ali and Leon Spinks in the Superdome. In a stunning upset earlier in the year, Spinks defeated Ali, so the New Orleans fight was billed as a must-see rematch. 

"This is bigger than four Super Bowls. This is bigger than the World Series, Indianapolis 500. Ain't nothing as big as me!" Ali said to a crowd on Canal Street about a month before the fight. The Sept. 15, 1978 bout drew a crowd of 65,370 to the Superdome, which had opened three years earlier. At the time, it was the largest audience in boxing history. 

The all-star crowd included former boxing champ Joe Frazier (who performed the national anthem), Sylvester Stallone, Jerry Lewis, John Travolta and Liza Minnelli. With a victory over Spinks, Ali became the first three-time heavyweight champion. The fight would be the final victory of Ali’s career. He died in 2016.