Champion Vitali Klitschko and underdog Danny Williams meet tonight in Las Vegas for the WBC heavyweight title. A spectacular performance by...

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Klitschko makes title defense in Las Vegas: Champion Vitali Klitschko and underdog Danny Williams meet tonight in Las Vegas for the WBC heavyweight title. A spectacular performance by either could vault the winner to the top of a pack of rather undistinguished heavyweight champs.

“It is very important that I win this fight,” Klitschko said.

Klitschko defends the title he won in April against Corrie Sanders for the first time against Williams, who was plucked from obscurity to be ex-champ Mike Tyson’s comeback opponent in July. Williams knocked Tyson out in the fourth round.

“Danny Williams destroyed my dream of fighting Mike Tyson,” Klitschko said. “Now I will destroy his dream of being the heavyweight champion.”


Labor talks to continue Tuesday: The NHL players’ association insists its proposed one-time 24 percent salary rollback will dramatically change the league’s economics. Whether that is enough to persuade NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to sign off on a deal and end the three-month lockout remains to be seen.

A decision could come as early as Tuesday in Toronto as the sides meet for the second time in six days after not negotiating for three months.

“If they just come back and say, ‘Thank you for the rollback. Now we just want to put it in a (salary) cap system,’ I know what the response of the players is going to be, and that would be most unfortunate,” NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin said.


Brazile extends all-around streak: Trevor Brazile of Decatur, Texas, secured his third straight world all-around title in the eighth round of the 10-round National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

Brazile, the first cowboy to win three consecutive all-around titles since Ty Murray in 1989-91, has earned $253,160 this season in team roping, steer roping and tie-down roping.


Fashion police: Bode Miller of Franconia, N.H., was disqualified for wearing a giant-slalom suit instead of downhill gear while finishing fifth in a World Cup training run in Val d’Isere, France.

The DQ has no bearing on his participation in today’s race.


Indiana, UC-Santa Barbara triumph: John Michael Hayden scored with 48 seconds left in the second overtime, leading second-seeded Indiana to a 3-2 victory over third-seeded Maryland in the semifinals of the NCAA Men’s College Cup in Carson, Calif.

Indiana (18-4-1) advanced to tomorrow’s title match against ninth-seeded UC-Santa Barbara (21-2-1).

UCSB routed unseeded Duke 5-0 in the other semifinal. Drew McAthy scored twice for the Gauchos.

Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy made seven saves for his 13th shutout of the season.

MetroStars add Agoos: The New York-New Jersey MetroStars acquired defender Jeff Agoos, a nine-time Major League Soccer All-Star, from San Jose in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2005 MLS draft.

Lazio penalized again: Italian team Lazio was ordered to play its next European game without fans as punishment for a game last month marked by racial taunts from the stands. This is the third time Lazio has been punished for racial misconduct, European soccer’s governing body said.

UEFA also fined Real Madrid nearly $13,000 for racial taunts by its fans during the Spanish team’s Nov. 23 Champions League game against Bayer Leverkusen of Germany.


Umpire dies at 84: Ed Sudol, the umpire behind home plate when Hank Aaron surpassed Babe Ruth’s record by hitting his 715th career home run in 1974, died. He was 84.

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