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Wednesday's Sports In Brief

AP - Sports

BOXING

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Former heavyweight champion Ken Norton, who beat Muhammad Ali and later lost a controversial decision to him in Yankee Stadium, died at a local care facility. He was 70.

Ken Norton Jr., a coach with the Seattle Seahawks, confirmed the death to The Associated Press before handing the phone to his wife, too distraught to talk.

The elder Norton, the only heavyweight champion never to win the title in the ring, had been in poor health for the last several years after suffering a series of strokes, a friend of the fighter said.

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A veteran Nevada boxing judge who drew widespread criticism after scoring a weekend title fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Saul ''Canelo'' Alvarez a draw is giving up her ringside job, at least temporarily.

Cynthia C.J. Ross, 64, said she was 'taking time away' and that she won't judge any fights 'in the immediate future,' but hadn't made a decision whether to quit.

Ross scored the world 152-pound title fight a 114-114 draw on Saturday night, but Mayweather won a majority decision after two other judges scored Mayweather the clear winner. Those scorecards had the fight 116-112 and 117-111 for Mayweather, who remained an undefeated 45-0.

Nevada boxing regulators generally backed Ross, although Nevada Athletic Commission Chairman Bill Brady told reporters the panel could have looked more closely at her selection for the Mayweather fight.

PRO FOOTBALL

BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Not long ago, Trent Richardson was viewed as a cornerstone for Cleveland's future.

Now, he is part of its recent inglorious past.

The Browns traded the powerful running back to Indianapolis in a stunning move just two games into the season and one year after drafting Richardson in the first round.

The team's new front office dealt Richardson for a first-round draft pick next year, when the team will have two opening-round selections and 10 overall. Cleveland is rebuilding again and the team hopes to use those picks - seven in the first four rounds - to help turn around a floundering franchise.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson's one game suspension has been reduced to a $100,000 fine for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Darren Sproles of New Orleans.

The NFL announced the decision by Matt Birk, who handles appeals of discipline of on-field punishment for players for the league and NFL Players Association.

Goldson was suspended one game without pay Monday for flagrant and repeat violations of NFL safety rules prohibiting hits to the head and neck area of defenseless players. This will allow him to play Sunday against New England.

NEW YORK (AP) - Roger Goodell believes the NFL's new player safety rules are working.

Goodell participated in a series of meetings on player health and safety at the league's headquarters. He said the feedback he has received from coaches, players, officials and administrators has been positive.

Asked about appeals officer Matt Birk overturning the one-game suspension for Tampa Bay safety Dashon Goldson for a helmet-to-helmet hit on New Orleans running back Darren Sproles, Goodell said he had not read the decision. But he stressed that the $100,000 fine delivers a message to Goldson and others that such hits must be eliminated from football.

AUTO RACING

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Nationwide will end its seven-year run as entitlement sponsor of NASCAR's second-largest series at the end of the 2014 season and refocus its motorsports spending to other areas of the industry.

NASCAR announced a new deal to extend Nationwide's contract as its official auto, home, life and business insurance partner through 2017. The insurer also becomes the presenting sponsor of the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award.

Nationwide intends to spend more on track sponsorships and in the Sprint Cup Series, where it recently funded the car of two-time Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at Bristol and Richmond. Nationwide has a three-race commitment with Stenhouse this season, and has agreed to sponsor four Sprint Cup races next year.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska is ready to move on from Bo Pelini's profane rant against fans two years ago.

Chancellor Harvey Perlman and athletic director Shawn Eichorst said in a joint statement that they believe the football coach was sincere in his apology for what he said in an audio leaked to the Deadspin.com sports website this week.

There was no mention of any disciplinary action taken against Pelini.

Perlman and Eichorst declined interview requests. Messages were left for Pelini.

WRESTLING

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) - 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 at the Laszlo Papp Sports Arena.

Burroughs, who won two NCAA championships at the University of Nebraska, was defending the title he earned in Istanbul in 2011.

BASKETBALL

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) - Spain and France will meet in the semifinals of the European basketball championships in a rematch of their gold medal game two years ago.

Spain won that final and is seeking to become the first team to win three straight European titles since Yugoslavia in the 1970s.

Two-time defending champion Spain took a big early lead and routed Serbia 90-60 in the first quarterfinal. Tony Parker then scored 27 points to lead France 72-62 past host Slovenia.

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