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BoxingHOLMES WINS 'LEGENDS' MATCH: Former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes stopped James "Bonecrusher" Smith in the eighth round Friday night in Fayetteville, N.C., as part of the inaugural card of the Legends of Boxing series.

Holmes, 49, used powerful jabs to drive the 46-year-old Smith into his corner early in the decisive round. Smith escaped but Holmes trapped him again against the ropes in a neutral corner before Smith motioned to his trainer to stop the fight.

The fighters, faces swollen, embraced after the fight was stopped.

Holmes, a 49-year-old grandfather, stepped into the ring for the first time since 1997.

Smith, 46, hadn't fought since last November, when he knocked out David Slaughter in Australia. In July 1997, Smith dislocated a shoulder in a fight with Joe Bugner.

The 12-round bout was a rematch of their heavyweight championship fight on Nov. 9, 1984, when Holmes stopped Smith in the 12th round to successfully defend his IBF title. Smith won the WBA title in 1986 by stopping Tim Witherspoon, then lost it to Mike Tyson the following year.


EX-INFIELDER LEMKE MAKES PITCHING DEBUT: Former Atlanta Braves infielder Mark Lemke made his minor-league pitching debut Friday night with the New Jersey Jackals, uncorking three wild pitches but striking out two with an erratic knuckleball.

Sporting a pitch he developed several years ago while the Braves' starting second baseman, Lemke pitched the ninth inning of the Jackals' 14-4 victory over the Adirondack Lumberjacks of the independent Northern League.

Lemke gave up one hit and one run in his professional pitching debut. He would have made it through the inning unscathed but for three wild pitches, the first allowing a batter he had struck out to reach first base.

Auto racing

POCONO 500: Although sitting on the pole is not unique to Sterling Marlin, a four-year drought made it seem like a new experience.

"Well, it's a new car," Marlin said Friday after breaking the track qualifying record at Pocono International Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. "It's a good race car. Now I hope I don't mess it up."

He certainly didn't make a mistake during his time test for the Pocono 500, getting his first pole since July 1995 by taking his Chevrolet around the 2 1/2-mile triangular oval at 170.506 mph.


MINNESOTA COUNSELOR FIRED: A key figure in the academic fraud investigation of the Minnesota men's basketball team was fired Friday for not helping with the inquiry. Alonzo Newby, the team's academic counselor, has steadfastly refused to talk to investigators, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. He was fired for "refusing to cooperate with independent investigators . . . and for participating in violation of NCAA rules," the university said in a statement. Newby's testimony could have clarified what role coach Clem Haskins had in alleged improprieties in the basketball program.

Newby allegedly gave $3,000 in cash to Jan Gangelhoff, the former academic counseling office manager from Danbury, Wis., who said she wrote more than 400 papers for players from 1993 to 1998. Gangelhoff has said the money was from Haskins.

UW'S SELF-IMPOSED PENALTIES ACCEPTED: The Pacific-10 on Friday agreed to accept Washington's self-imposed penalties for football recruiting violations since Rick Neuheisel took over as head coach.

At issue were "quiet period" violations, contacts between Washington coaches and student athletes at another school without a written release and violation of the tryout rule.

Five coaches conducted in-person, off-campus recruiting visits with eight prospective students athletes during a "quiet period" on Jan. 31 when such contacts are barred.

The five athletes visited who signed with Washington were declared ineligible by the school. The school then petitioned the NCAA, which restored their eligibility. The five coaches each were withheld from two weeks of off-campus recuiting in May and will be withheld from two weeks of recuiting in the December-January contact period. Neuheisel and the five assistants will receive letters of reprimand.