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Ex-heavyweight boxing champ Michael Spinks came to Center Moriches on Friday to help out with a boxing class that is helping Parkinson’s patients combat the debilitating effects of the disease.
The boxing exercise groups at Oasis Rehabilitation and Nursing are part of the facility’s unique approach to treating Parkinson’s sufferers and preparing them for a safe return to their communities.
“Studies have shown that boxing as exercise helps slow the progression and improves balance and mobility,” said Brookhaven Town Councilman Dan Panico, who witnessed Spinks, an International Hall of Fame inductee, shadow box and lightly spar with the Parkinson’s patients.
“He is a great guy and those participating in the program at Oasis sure loved meeting with him and participating today,” add Panico, who himself was thrilled with meeting Spinks, 64, a 1976 Olympic gold medalist in Montreal.
Panico said he shared with Spinx that the first fight he watched as a child was when Spinks lost his heavyweight crown to Mike Tyson in 1988. “When I told him that, he looked at me and laughed saying, ‘Oh well, that one didn’t go so well for me,’” Panico shared.
During his illustrious career, Spinks was the undisputed light heavyweight champ for two years before defeating an undefeated Larry Holmes in 1985 to capture the heavyweight crown.
Spinks won 31 of his 32 bouts, losing only to Tyson. Iron Mike knocked out Spinks in 91 seconds. It was Spinks’ final fight.