Boxing

Ex-heavyweight contender Ron Lyle dies at 70

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DENVER (AP)

Former heavyweight contender Ron Lyle, who fought Muhammad Ali for the title in 1975 and later battled George Foreman, has died in Denver at age 70.

Lyle died Saturday from complications from a sudden stomach ailment, said Ron McKinney, a Salvation Army official in Denver. Details weren't immediately available.

McKinney, a family friend who hired Lyle to start the charity's boxing program in 2002, said Lyle retired from the program last December but continued to work out at the gym every day.

''I just saw him yesterday (Friday),'' McKinney said. ''You looked at him and he looked like he was ready to step into the ring. Shake hands with him, and it's like shaking a piece of steel.''

The gym, called Red Shield Cox-Lyle Boxing, would show replays of Lyle's fights every Friday night as inspiration for some of the program's 100 students, McKinney said.

Lyle lost to both Ali and Foreman in the mid-1970s.

After his career in boxing, Lyle lived in Las Vegas where he trained young boxers and worked as a security guard.

He made a brief comeback in 1995 at age 54 and hoped to fight Foreman again in a fight jokingly billed as ''Old and Older.'' Lyle hoped for a better result than the 1976 match in which he took a beating from Foreman. He also toyed with the idea of fighting Mike Tyson but neither fight materialized.

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