LAS VEGAS — Unbeaten and outspoken Michael Spinks knocked down Diamond Jim MacDonald three times Thursday night before stopping the 26-year-old challenger at 1:30 of the eighth round to retain his undisputed world light-heavyweight title.
Spinks, 28, pounded MacDonald almost at will from the opening bell, knocking him down in the fifth, seventh and eighth rounds before referee Davey Pearl moved in to stop the bout.
Immediately after the fight, Spinks' thoughts turned to a big money fight with undefeated heavyweight champion Larry Holmes.
"We want Larry Holmes," Spinks said. "I will go to his house and picket. I will stage a riot if I have to."
Holmes, the International Boxing Federation heavyweight titleholder, promptly relayed to Spinks a $700,000 offer to fight him in August. Spinks turned down a chance to fight Holmes for $1 million on May 20, saying he needed more time to get ready and gain weight.
"That just told you Larry don't want to fight," Spinks said of the latest offer.
Spinks showed once again why he is the dominating force in a division he has ruled since winning the title in July, 1981. It was his 10th title defense.
"I'm not No. 1, I'm number zero because there is nobody that can keep up with me in the light heavyweight division and never has been," Spinks said.
Even so, MacDonald provided Spinks with what he called his "toughest fight in five years."
MacDonald, who had knocked out 15 of his 16 professional opponents, conceded Spinks was the best, but said his own inexperience led to his downfall.
"I can beat Michael Spinks, but all that tension just got to me," said MacDonald, of Nashville, Tenn. "My legs never got into the fight. I was looking for a bomb and that doesn't always work."
Spinks, 175, ran his record to 27-0 with 19 knockouts, while MacDonald, 172, suffered his first loss in 17 professional fights.
In the undercard Thursday, Alfonzo Ratliff overcame a slow start to capture a 12-round split decision over a bloodied Carlos DeLeon and win the World Boxing Council cruiserweight title.
Judge Jerry Roth of Las Vegas scored the bout 116-113 for Ratliff, while judge Angel Luis Guzman of Mexico also favored Ratliff by a 117-114 margin. Judge Ray Solis of Puerto Rico scored it 117-114 for DeLeon.
Ratliff, of Chicago, owned a nine-inch reach advantage but couldn't find the mark early as the champion from Puerto Rico piled up a big lead. But, with seconds left in the fifth round, a right hand from Ratliff opened a gash above DeLeon's left eye and the champion was never the same again.
The 26-year-old DeLeon, 187 3/4, was making the fourth defense of the cruiserweight crown he had regained from S. T. Gordon in July, 1983. He earned $100,000 for the loss, which dropped his record to 38-3-1. Ratliff, 192 1/2, improved his record to 20-2 and earned $30,000.
In other bouts, undefeated Davey Hilton Jr. of Montreal retained his Continental Americas welterweight title with a second-round knockout of Dennis Horn of Oklahoma City, while WBC lightweight champion Jose Luis Ramirez of Mexico pounded out a unanimous 10-round decision over an outclassed Manny Hernandez.