Hall of Famer Mercante dies

Hall of Fame boxing referee Arthur Mercante, the third man in the ring for the first Ali-Frazier fight and more than a hundred other world title bouts, has died. He was 90.

Mercante died Saturday at his home in Westbury, N.Y., said Edward Brophy, executive director of the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y. The cause of death wasn’t disclosed.

Mercante refereed 145 world title fights during his career, the most famous on March 8, 1971, when Joe Frazier defeated Muhammad Ali in “The Fight of the Century” at Madison Square Garden.


Polish Olympic Committee head Piotr Nurowski died in the plane crash near Smolensk airport in Smolensk Oblast, Russia, that killed President Lech Kaczynski.


Defending champion Chelsea returned to the FA Cup final with a 3-0 victory over Aston Villa in Wembley, England. In the May 15 final, Chelsea will face the winner of today’s semifinal between Tottenham and Portsmouth, which was relegated from the Premier League on Saturday when West Ham beat Sunderland, 1-0. … Third seeded Sam Querrey defeated Wayne Odesnik, 7-6 (4), 1-6, 7-5, in the semifinals of the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston. In today’s final, Querrey goes against Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Chela, who beat countryman Horacio Zeballos, 7-5, 6-2. … American Chris Horner of Team RadioShack won the Tour of Basque Country over Alejandro Valverde after winning the final stage – a 13.7-mile time trial in Orio, Spain – by eight seconds over Valverde, who had a one-second edge entering the final stage.

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