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Ali apologizes, Frazier accepts

Muhammad Ali has apologized for some of the things he said about Joe Frazier before their legendary fight 30 years ago.

Frazier, who for years was bitter about Ali's comments, has said recently he wanted to put that behind him.

"In a way, Joe's right," Ali said in an interview published in Thursday's New York Times. "I said a lot of things in the heat of the moment that I shouldn't have said. Called him names I shouldn't have called him. I apologize for that. It was all meant to promote the fight."

Frazier outpointed Ali in what was billed as "The Fight" on March 8, 1971, in Madison Square Garden. They fought twice more, with Ali winning both times.

Before the first fight, Ali called Frazier an "Uncle Tom" and said he was "too ugly to be the champ." Before the third fight, in Manila, he compared Frazier to a gorilla.

"I like Joe Frazier," Ali said. "Me and him was a good show."

Frazier accepted Ali's apology.

COLLEGES: Auburn's Maggie Bowen set a meet and American record of 1 minute, 55.49 seconds in the 200-yard individual medley in the Division I women's swimming championships in East Meadow, N.Y. Texas beat its meet and American records in the 200 freestyle relay with a 1:28.89. Stanford's Jessica Foschi won the 500 freestyle in 4:37.81. Florida's Jannelle Atkinson, the No. 1 seed and Southeastern Conference champion, was second in 4:39.44. Auburn (121.5 points) was the team leader after the first of three days. In baseball, Eckerd swept Concordia 6-5 and 16-3. Justin Loop hit his fourth homer. In women's tennis, North Carolina beat host South Florida 6-1. USF's Tina Harrison earned the Bulls' point. She was leading Marlene Mejia 4-2 in the first set when Mejia defaulted with a muscle pull. Jacksonville beat Morehead State 4-1. In softball, Florida State beat visiting Iowa State 4-0. Florida lost 5-1 to visiting Mississippi State. In wrestling, Minnesota had 41{ points while Iowa and Oklahoma State were tied with 36{ after the first two rounds of the NCAA championships in Iowa City. Alabama athletic director Mal Moore, 61, had an angioplasty and was resting comfortably.

SOCCER: The 2010 World Cup will be staged in Africa, FIFA decided. South Africa, which lost to Germany last summer in voting for the 2006 World Cup site, is the overwhelming favorite to stage the 2010 tournament, though Morocco and Egypt could make bids. Liverpool beat FC Porto 2-0 at home to reach the UEFA Cup semifinals along with Barcelona, Alaves and Kaiserslautern. Michael Owen and Danny Murphy scored five minutes apart for Liverpool. The U.S. women, fielding one of the youngest lineups in its history, lost 2-0 to Sweden in the final opening-round game of the Algarve Cup in Portugal. The Americans finished third in their group. They play Norway for fifth place on Saturday.

BASKETBALL: Five Dogs scored in double figures as Detroit beat host Tampa Bay (10-22) 89-86 in ABA 2000 play. Dan Cross, who had 28 points and 10 assists for the ThunderDawgs, led all scorers.

HORSE RACING: Police in Cypress, Calif., said quarter-horse trainer Robert Gilbert was in critical condition and on life support a day after he was beaten. Gilbert, 56, was discovered early Wednesday in a remote area of Los Alamitos race course. Weekend Surprise, the dam of A.P. Indy, 1992 Horse of the Year, is dead. The mare, 21, died Tuesday after foaling a filly by Belong to Me. The filly is in good health.

SKIING: Picabo Street capped her comeback with a surprising win over Olympic-caliber downhill competition, winning a Super Series race in Snowbasin, Utah. Street (1:41.57) beat Michaela Dorfmeister by a half-second. Leonardo Follis, 34, a top Italian cross-country skier, was killed by an avalanche in the Italian Alps.

_ ANTONYA ENGLISH, TIMES WIRES

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