Other Sports

Sports briefs: Nov. 15

Muhammad Ali attended a private memorial service for boxing legend Joe Frazier at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church on Monday in Philadelphia.
Muhammad Ali attended a private memorial service for boxing legend Joe Frazier at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church on Monday in Philadelphia. AP

Boxing

Ali among boxing greats paying respect to Frazier

Joe Frazier was remembered as a great heavyweight champion and a city icon at a private funeral Monday in Philadelphia attended by longtime rival Muhammad Ali. The 67-year-old Frazier died last week after a short battle with liver cancer.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson asked mourners to rise, put their hands together and, for one last time, "show your love" for Frazier.

Wearing a dark suit and sunglasses, a frail and trembling Ali rose from his seat and vigorously clapped for "Smokin' Joe," the fighter who handed Ali his first loss.

Ali was among the nearly 4,000 people who packed the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church for a two-hour "joyful celebration" of Frazier's life. Also attending were former heavyweight champions Larry Holmes and Michael Spinks and promoter Don King.

His body ravaged by Parkinson's disease, Ali was accompanied by members of his family and his wife, Lonnie, who rubbed his back while he was seated and held his hands as he entered and left the church.

Jackson delivered a stirring eulogy, describing Frazier as someone who "came from segregation, degradation and disgrace to amazing grace."

"We made history together," said King, who promoted Ali's Rumble in the Jungle fight against George Foreman, who was knocked out in the eighth round. "We tried to make America better."

King, wearing a U.S. flag scarf and clutching a mini-flag, walked over to shake Ali's hand before the funeral; Holmes greeted "The Greatest" when the service ended — with a 10-bell salute, boxing's traditional 10-count farewell to its own.

Baseball

Kimbrel, Hellickson rookies of the year

Craig Kimbrel overpowered hitters with his rocket right arm, then overwhelmed rivals in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. Kimbrel unanimously won the NL honor on Monday, with Tampa Bay pitcher Jeremy Hellickson a clear choice as the top rookie in the AL.

Kimbrel set a major-league record for saves by a rookie with 46. He earned all 32 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America and outpointed Braves teammate Freddie Freeman. "It definitely did surprise me," Kimbrel said. "I expected it to be close."

Kimbrel wound up tied with Milwaukee's John Axford for the NL lead in saves. He became the 10th unanimous NL rookie winner, and first since Albert Pujols in 2001. Kimbrel was the seventh Braves player to win the award that began in 1947, and first since Rafael Furcal in 2000.

Hellickson went 13-10 with a 2.95 ERA in helping the Rays take the AL wild-card spot. He drew 17 of 28 first-place votes and finished well ahead of Los Angeles Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo.

The 24-year-old Hellickson was a big reason the Rays were able to erase a nine-game deficit against Boston in the last 31/2 weeks to win the AL wild-card spot. He was unbeaten in five starts against AL East teams in the final month and finished 7-3 in games against division rivals.

■ The Los Angeles Angels have hired former major-league first baseman Hal Morris as their director of pro scouting. Morris spent parts of 13 seasons in the majors, starting with the New York Yankees and eventually spending 10 years with the Cincinnati Reds. He won the 1990 World Series with Cincinnati, providing the sacrifice fly that turned out to be the game-winning RBI in the series clincher. Morris has been scouting for just three seasons, working for Pittsburgh for two years before joining the Boston Red Sox last season as an internal scout.

College football

Bray cleared to practice with Vols

Tennessee Coach Derek Dooley said quarterback Tyler Bray has been cleared to return to practice but said the sophomore is "questionable" for Saturday's game against Vanderbilt. Bray has missed the Volunteers' last five games after breaking the thumb on his right hand in their loss to Georgia on Oct. 8.

Bray is 116-for-176 for 1,579 yards, 14 touchdowns and two interceptions in five games this season. Tennessee (4-6) has had just one passing touchdown and six interceptions in his absence.

Saban on BCS: 'I don't understand it'

Nick Saban isn't worrying about the various scenarios that could move Alabama up the BCS standings. The third-ranked Crimson Tide's coach said Monday he "could(n't) care less about that because I don't understand it to start with."

The Tide remain third in the BCS standings behind unbeaten Louisiana State and Oklahoma State. Cornerback DeQuan Menzie said the team heard about the losses of previously unbeaten Stanford and Boise State on the bus ride home from the Mississippi State game Saturday night. He says the reaction was a subdued "Yes!"

Noseguard Josh Chapman said he just went back to sleep.

Golf

Blackwelder in final three for 'Big Break'

Former Woodford County High School and University of Kentucky golfer Mallory Blackwelder has stayed alive through the first nine weeks of Golf Channel's Big Break Ireland reality series. The episode that airs Tuesday night at 9 will produce the final two contestants. Blackwelder has survived in the format that eliminates one golfer each week. The show, which was taped in May at The K Club in Kildare, Ireland, started with six male and six female contestants.

Horse racing

English champion Workforce retires

Workforce, the British colt who shot to fame by winning the English Derby and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in 2010, was retired to stud Monday. Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Workforce owner Khalid Abdullah, said the 4-year-old Thoroughbred is heading to Shadai Stud in Japan, having failed to land a Group I victory this year. His last race was the 2011 Arc at Longchamp, where he finished in 12th place behind winner Danedream.

The last word

San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois said his team finally silenced any remaining doubters after Sunday's 27-20 victory against the New York Giants:

"It might change the perspective of everybody now, that we're not just a team that's a joke. We're a team to actually take serious. Last night, I was watching NFL Network, and I heard Deion Sanders say he wasn't giving us our props and we weren't a team to take serious. But now that we won the game, everybody's taking us serious."

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