Smokin’ Joe has cancer
Former heavyweight champion Joe Frazier is seriously ill with liver cancer. His personal and business manager said on Saturday the 67-year-old boxer was diagnosed four or five weeks ago and is under hospice care. Leslie Wolff said those close to Frazier are hoping for the best, but calls it a “serious situation.” Frazier was the first man to beat Muhammad Ali, knocking him down and taking a decision in the so-called “Fight of the Century” in 1971. He then lost two more fights to Ali, including the epic “Thrilla in Manila” bout in 1975.
Bute remains undefeated
Lucian Bute kept his undefeated record intact with a one-sided unanimous decision victory over Glen Johnson in an IBF super-middleweight title fight in Quebec City, Canada, on Saturday. The 31-year-old Canadian-based Romanian Bute improved to 30-0 and made the 10th defense of the title he won in 2007. “It was a great fight and a great performance for me,” said southpaw Bute, who saw his string of six consecutive KOs snapped. “Glen Johnson is a great fighter. To beat him, you have to avoid the jab. I did that and I tried to out-jab him.” Two of the three judges gave Bute all 12 rounds and he lost just one round on the other judge’s scorecard in front of a crowd of 15,306 at the Colisee arena. The 42-year-old Johnson, of Jamaica, fell to 51-16-2. Johnson injured his right arm in the bout, but continued to fight. He didn’t take the loss well. “I think I won the fight,” Johnson said. “It’s tough to win in your opponent’s hometown because as soon as he does one little thing, the crowd goes crazy instead of paying attention to what the punches are telling you.” On the undercard, Canadian super-bantamweight Steve Molitor outpointed Sebastien Gauthier in a 10-round split decision to improve to 34-2. Meanwhile, in Hollywood, Florida, Panama’s Guillermo Jones scored a sixth round technical knockout of Mike Marrone to retain his WBA cruiserweight title. Jones knocked Marrone down in the fifth and sixth rounds at the Hard Rock Live Arena. Jones improved to 38-3-2 with his 30th knockout, while Marrone fell to 20-4.
Burns grabs second title
Ricky Burns earned his second world title when he easily outpointed Michael Katsidis for the interim WBO lightweight belt at Wembley Arena in London on Saturday. Burns relinquished the WBO super-featherweight title to make his division debut against the favored Katsidis and produced a classy display, which the judges rewarded with unanimous scores of 117-111, 117-111 and 117-112. Katsidis, from Australia, was the more aggressive throughout, but kept getting punished by his Scottish opponent’s snappy jab and sharp counterattacks. Burns improved to 33-2 (nine KOs), while Katsidis dropped to 28-5 (23 KOs).
Upset at Breeders Cup
Drosselmeyer scored a spectacular upset by winning the US$5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday, while delivering a much-needed dose of redemption for jockey Mike Smith. Smith, who suffered a gut-wrenching defeat at the wire in last year’s Classic aboard Zenyatta, piloted Drosselmeyer past the celebrated field in a dramatic stretch run to win the US’ richest race. Drosselmeyer finished one and one-half lengths ahead of the Bob Baffert-trained gelding Game on Dude, ridden by Smith’s ex-girlfriend, Chantal Sutherland.