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'76 Olympic champ DAVIS dies of cancer

MIAMI — Howard Davis Jr., who won the lightweight gold medal at the 1976 Olympics and was named over teammates Sugar Ray Leonard and Michael and Leon Spinks the Games' most outstanding fighter, has died of cancer, his wife said Friday.

Mr. Davis, 59, died Wednesday at his Plantation home, surrounded by family, Karla Guadamuz-Davis said.

His diagnosis of Stage 4 lung cancer in February came as a shock because he had never smoked, she said. The cancer spread to his liver, and the family chose to discontinue treatment in a hospital this week.

Mr. Davis' mother died three days before the 1976 Games in Montreal began, and he considered withdrawing. He dedicated his win to his mother's memory.

Mr. Davis was considered by many to be better than Leonard on the star-studded 1976 team. As a pro, however, his career never matched his Olympic exploits. He retired in 1996 with a record of 36-6-1 with 14 knockouts, his biography on the Howard Davis Jr. Foundation's website says.

Mr. Davis went on to train mixed martial arts fighters, including retired UFC light-heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, who posted an image of him with Mr. Davis on his Instagram account Thursday.

horseS

Pharoah sets earnings mark

Triple Crown winner American Pharoah set a season earnings record of nearly $8.3 million for a year in which he ended his career with a victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic. American Pharoah earned $8,288,800 with seven victories in eight 2015 races, including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. He breaks Smarty Jones' 2004 record of $7,563,535.

Other year-end earnings leaders in thoroughbred racing were trainer Todd Pletcher, jockey Javier Castellano and Zayat Stables LLC, owners of American Pharoah, said Equibase Company LLC, a horse racing results company.

Pletcher was the top-earning trainer for the sixth year in a row with 269 winners in 1,124 starts for $26,278,647. Among his winners was Carpe Diem in the Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs in March.

Castellano set a season earnings record in North America with 344 winners from 1,507 mounts for $28,120,767. Among his winners was Keen Ice, co-owned by South Tampa doctor Anthony Infante, who gave American Pharoah his only loss last year, in the Travers Stakes in August at Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Zayat Stables, operated by Ahmed Zayat, won 21 races from 215 starts and earned $10,000,226.

Times staff, wires

Sports in brief 01/01/16 [Last modified: Friday, January 1, 2016 7:22pm]
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