Former heavyweight champion Ken Norton, who beat Muhammad Ali and later lost a controversial decision to him in Yankee Stadium, died Wednesday at a care facility in Bullhead City, Ariz. He was 70.
Ken Norton Jr., an assistant coach with the Seattle Seahawks and a former linebacker with the 49ers, confirmed the death before handing the phone to his wife, too distraught to talk.
Norton, the only heavyweight champion never to win the title in the ring, had been in poor health for the past several years after suffering a series of strokes.
"He's been fighting the battle for two years," said Gene Kilroy, Ali's former business manager. "I'm sure he's in heaven now with all the great fighters."
Norton broke Ali's jaw in their first bout, beating him by split decision in 1973. They fought six months later, and Ali won a split decision. They met again Sept. 28, 1976, at Yankee Stadium and Ali narrowly won to keep his heavyweight title.
After being declared WBC champion, Norton lost a 15-round decision to Larry Holmes in 1978.
Norton, who had a 42-7-1 record, later embarked on an acting career.
"So saddened by the passing of Ken Norton Sr. and sending condolences to the family," Seattle coach Pete Carroll tweeted.
Arizona State agreed on contract extensions for football coach Todd Graham and athletic director Steve Patterson through 2018, a source told AP. Graham's salary will be increased from $2.05 million to $2.3 million on July 1.