Former champion Griffith dies at 75
• Emile Griffith, who won the welterweight and middleweight boxing titles and fought professionally for 20 years, but who was most remembered for a fatal barrage of punches in a championship bout at Madison Square Garden, died Tuesday in Hempstead, N.Y. He was 75. The causes were kidney failure and complications of dementia, said Ron Ross, the author of Griffith’s biography published in 2008.
Griffith won the welterweight title three times and the middleweight title twice, and briefly held the newly created junior middleweight title. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.
But he would be shadowed by the death of Benny Paret, whom Griffith pummelled with a 17-punch salvo in five seconds in the 12th round, on March 24, 1962, in their third title fight. Paret died 10 days later at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City.
After losing three consecutive fights, Griffith retired in 1977 with 85 victories, 24 losses and two draws before being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
He later worked occasionally as a boxing trainer and lived in Hempstead, on Long Island. When Griffith died, all of his ring earnings were gone, and he had lost much of his memory.
Mickelson commits to play at Firestone
• British Open winner Phil Mickelson committed Tuesday to playing the Bridgestone Invitational next week in Akron. Mickelson, a five-time major winner, has played in the Bridgestone Invitational in each of the 14 years it has been held. His best finish came in the inaugural event (1999) when he finished runner-up. In his past 10 attempts at the Bridgestone Invitational, he has one top 20 finish, a tie for fourth in 2008.
Martino will coach Barcelona team
• Gerardo Martino, a relatively unknown Argentine league coach, reached an agreement to coach a Barcelona team led by Lionel Messi that is one of great clubs in history. Martino will get a two-year contract. He is expected to travel from Argentina to sign the contract and be presented to the club. The 50-year-old Martino will follow two of European soccer’s most successful coaches — Tito Vilanova, who succeeded Pep Guardiola. Despite having no European coaching experience, Martino received the backing from Messi before the club’s sporting director traveled to Buenos Aires to negotiate the deal.
• A top Swiss soccer club was fined $21,300 after players wore shirts with a slogan promoting a political campaign for a new stadium.
Mavericks add shooting guard Ellis
• The Dallas Mavericks signed free-agent shooting guard Monta Ellis to a three-year contract reportedly worth between $25 million and $30 million. The 27-year-old Ellis will start the season with a different team for the third consecutive year after spending his first six seasons with Golden State.
• The Chicago Bulls waived forward Malcolm Thomas. The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Thomas appeared in seven games for Chicago last season and averaged 2.5 points.
• Michigan coach John Beilein’s new contract will keep him with the Wolverines through the 2018-19 season. Whether retirement awaits after that, he isn’t ready to say. The 60-year-old coach will make $2.45 million in annual compensation under the new deal.
Devils bring in Jagr to improve offense
• The New Jersey Devils replaced their best player, with one of the NHL’s greatest of all time as the Devils signed two-time Stanley Cup winner and former NHL MVP Jaromir Jagr to a one-year, $2 million contract. Jagr, 41, split last season with the Dallas Stars and Boston Bruins, scoring a combined 16 goals and 19 assists in 45 games. The NHL’s active leading scorer added 10 assists in helping the Bruins reach the Stanley Cup final. Jagr did not score a goal in the 2013 playoffs.
• The State Attorney’s Office has dropped misdemeanor charges against Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison. Morrison was arrested Sunday in Gainesville, Fla., and charged with barking at a police dog and resisting arrest. It was Morrison’s second arrest in five weeks, prompting coach Will Muschamp to suspend him for at least the first two games of the season. It’s unclear whether Muschamp will uphold the suspension.
• Formula One will return to Austria next year, adding the Red Bull-branded Spielberg circuit to its Grand Prix schedule 11 years after leaving the Alpine country. Dietrich Mateschitz, founder of the energy drink maker, agreed with Formula One Chief Executive Officer Bernie Ecclestone to hold the race July 6.
• China’s He Zi won her second world title in the women’s 1-meter springboard, edging Tania Cagnotto of Italy by 0.10 points after executing a nearly flawless final dive in the world championships in Barcelona, Spain. Qin Kai and He Chong took gold in the men’s 3-meter synchronized springboard.
• U.S. cycling team Trek says it has signed Andy and Frank Schleck to its roster for 2014. The Luxembourg brothers will compete in the major Tours and the three Ardennes classics — the Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege — among other races.
— From wire reports