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Ali becomes first three-time heavyweight champ

Updated: September 13, 2001, 5:31 PM ET
By Larry Schwartz | Special to ESPN.com

Sept. 15, 1978

At 36, Muhammad Ali shows he still can occasionally float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. While just a shell of his former self, that's enough for him to avenge his loss to Leon Spinks seven months ago.

Before a crowd of some 70,000 at the Superdome in New Orleans, Ali, the 2-1 favorite, is in control throughout and registers an easy unanimous decision over the 25-year-old former Marine. Counterpunching with a left hook that beats a steady tattoo ...

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