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Ex-champion Norton dies

Former heavyweight champion Ken Norton, who beat Muhammad Ali and later lost a controversial decision to him in Yankee Stadium, died Wednesday from congestive heart failure, his friend and manager Patrick Tenore Sr. confirmed.

Norton, 70, was in the VA rehabilitation center in Bullhead City, Ariz.

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Ken Norton Jr., a coach with the Seahawks, also confirmed his father’s death to The Associated Press.

Norton, the only heavyweight champion never to win the title in the ring, had been in poor health for the past several years after suffering a series of strokes.

Norton broke Ali’s jaw in their first bout, beating him by split decision in 1973 in a nontitle fight in San Diego. They fought six months later, and Ali won a split decision. They met for a third time on Sept. 28, 1976, at Yankee Stadium, and Ali narrowly won to keep his heavyweight title.

Norton (42-7-1, 33 KOs) would come back the next year to win a heavyweight title eliminator and was declared champion by the World Boxing Council. But on June 9, 1978, he lost a bruising 15-round fight to Larry Holmes in what many regard as one of boxing’s epic heavyweight bouts and would never be champion again.

A veteran Nevada boxing judge who drew widespread criticism after scoring a weekend title fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Canelo Alvarez a draw is temporarily giving up her ringside job.

Cynthia C.J. Ross, 64, scored the world 152-pound title fight a 114-114 draw, but Mayweather won a majority decision after two other judges scored Mayweather the winner. Those scorecards had the fight 116-112 and 117-111 for Mayweather.


Messi scores hat trick

Lionel Messi had a hat trick and Barcelona opened its Champions League run with a 4-0 win over Ajax.

It was a different story for manager Jose Mourinho’s homecoming as Chelsea lost when Basel came from behind to win 2-1 in London.


Woods will remain No. 1

No matter what happens at the Tour Championship, Tiger Woods is assured of being No. 1 in the world and No. 1 on the PGA Tour money list.

Everything else is up for grabs.

Woods has five wins this year, and no one else has more than two. Even so, the parity among top players this year is illustrated by how many of them have something to play for at East Lake in Atlanta when the Tour Championship gets under way Thursday. And it’s more than just the FedEx Cup and its $10 million bonus. Several can make a strong case for Player of the Year with a victory.


Andersen cleared

Miami Heat forward Chris Andersen was the victim of a wide-ranging Internet hoax that resulted in a raid of his Denver-area home last year, his lawyer said, and Colorado prosecutors confirmed Andersen was cleared of wrongdoing in the “extremely complex” case.

Andersen’s lawyer and agent, Mark Bryant, said his client was duped by a woman in Canada who sought a relationship and gifts and who threatened a female acquaintance of Andersen’s in California while impersonating the tattoo-covered fan favorite known as “Birdman.”

Shelly Lynn Chartier, 29, of Easterville, Manitoba, has been charged with possession and transmission of child pornography, extortion and utter threats.


• The Washington Wizards said starting center Emeka Okafor is out indefinitely with a herniated disk, and forward Chris Singleton will be sidelined six to eight weeks with a broken bone in his foot.

Laurent Courtois scored a goal to send the host Los Angeles Galaxy to a 1-0 victory over Isidro Metapan in the CONCACAF Champions League.

• American Jordan Burroughs earned another wrestling world title. Burroughs, a gold medalist at the 2012 Olympics, extended his undefeated streak to 65 matches with a 4-0 victory over Iran’s Ezzatollah Akbarizarinkolaei in the 163-pound category in Budapest, Hungary.

• Spain and France will meet in the semifinals of the European basketball championships in a rematch of their gold-medal game two years ago. Two-time defending champion Spain routed Serbia 90-60 in the first quarterfinal in Llubljana, Slovenia. Tony Parker then scored 27 points to lead France past Slovenia 72-62.

• Nationwide will end its seven-year run as title sponsor of NASCAR’s second-largest series at the end of the 2014 season.

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