- Associated Press - Monday, December 1, 2014


OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - WBO lightweight champion Terence Crawford strengthened his bid for Fighter of the Year with a unanimous decision over top-ranked contender Ray Beltran on Saturday night.

Crawford won his third fight of 2014 and announced afterward he would move up to the 140-pound division.

Crawford was in control throughout the 12-round fight, using his jab to keep Beltran from getting inside and landing some timely big shots to remain unbeaten.

After the final bell, Crawford raised his hands in victory as his hometown crowd of more than 11,000 cheered him.

The 27-year-old Crawford is 25-0. Beltran is 29-7-1.

In the co-main event, IBF featherweight champion Evgeny Gradovich and Jayson Velez fought to a 12-round draw. The announcement was greeted by boos. Most thought Gradovich (19-0-1) had won.

Velez (22-0-1) wouldn’t stop and looked to catch a second wind in the final round, when the two traded blow after blow until the end.



SEATTLE (AP) - Clint Dempsey had a goal and assist in the first half to give Seattle the lead, but Juninho’s tiebreaking road goal early in the second half sent the Los Angeles Galaxy to the MLS Cup final for the ninth time in franchise history after their Western Conference final with the Seattle Sounders ended 2-2 on aggregate.

Road goals were used as a tiebreaker in the MLS Cup playoffs for the first time this season, and Los Angeles used it to the full advantage following a 1-0 win in the first-leg of the conference finals last weekend. After surrendering goals to Brad Evans and Dempsey’s in the first 32 minutes, Juninho’s goal was the difference. The Galaxy will go for their fifth MLS championship and kept the career of Landon Donovan going for one more game.

Los Angeles will host Eastern Conference champion New England in the final next Sunday.

Seattle was attempting to reach the MLS Cup final for the first time in franchise history.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Jay Heaps is taking the New England Revolution back to the MLS Cup - this time as the head coach - still looking for his first win.

Charlie Davies scored twice to give the Revolution a 2-2 draw with the New York Red Bulls on Saturday and a 4-3 victory in the two-game, aggregate goals Eastern Conference finals.

Tierney assisted on both goals to twice tie the score after the Red Bulls took the lead.

Tim Cahill and Peguy Luyindula scored for the Red Bulls, who are expecting to say goodbye to captain Thierry Henry. The 37-year-old French star’s contract is up, and he is expected to return to Europe to finish his career.

Heaps played for the Revolution from 2001-11 and helped the team reach the MLS Cup four times, in ‘02 and again from 2005-07.

Each time they lost.

Heaps took over as head coach in 2012 after back-to-back years missing the playoffs. After one more rebuilding year, he had them back in the postseason last year and now back in the championship game.

Davies scored in the 41st minute to tie it, and then again in the 70th. Henry had a chance to give the Red Bulls the series in the 89th minute but his shot from outside the box was blocked by Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth.


VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Hamilton star Brandon Banks’ 90-yard punt return for an apparent go-ahead touchdown with 35 seconds left was wiped out by an illegal block, and the Calgary Stampeders held off the Tiger-Cats 20-16 on Sunday night in the Grey Cup.

Calgary won its seventh Canadian Football League title and first since 2008.

Banks stormed out of the Hamilton locker room as the media waited to get in. Several reporters tried to get a comment, but he kept moving. The former Washington Redskins speedster just looked back and said: “I ain’t talking to nobody.”

Hamilton linebacker Taylor Reed was penalized for the block.

The historic trophy was damaged as the Stampeders celebrated, with the top coming loose from the base.

Bo Levi Mitchell was 25 for 34 for 334 yards for Calgary, backup Drew Tate had two 1-yard touchdown runs and Rene Parades made two field goals.

Mitchell was selected the game’s outstanding player. The former Eastern Washington quarterback completed 10 straight passes to tie the third-longest streak in Grey Cup history.

Hamilton’s Zach Collaros threw for 282 yards and a touchdown, a 45-yarder to Banks late in the first half.

Hamilton lost the title game for the second straight year after falling to Saskatchewan 45-23 last year in Regina, Saskatchewan. The Tiger-Cats won their last championship in 1999 when they beat the Stampeders 32-21 in Vancouver.

Hamilton’s Andy Fantuz was honored as the outstanding Canadian. He had six catches for 81 yards.


SYDNEY (AP) - Jordan Spieth played the best round of an already impressive career with an 8-under 63 on Sunday to win the Australian Open by six strokes, making his first trip Down Under a successful one.

Spieth’s 72-hole total of 13-under 271 on the tough, windy Australian Golf Club made him the first American to win the Australian Open since Brad Faxon in 1993, when the 21-year-old Spieth was four months old.

Spieth birdied four holes on the front nine - three of them in a row - to lead by three strokes after nine holes, then made light of the challenging, windy conditions by adding four more on the back nine, never threatening to lose his lead.

Spieth’s score was a record for the revamped Jack Nicklaus-designed layout which was being played as a par 71 for the first time. On Friday, Jamie Lovemark of the United States shot 65.

Adam Scott shot 71 and finished fifth, nine strokes behind. Defending champion Rory McIlroy, who shot 76 on Saturday, finished with a 72 and was 2-over, 15 strokes behind Spieth.


LAKE LOUISE, Alberta (AP) - Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud won the super-G on Sunday for his second World Cup victory in two days.

The Olympic super-G champion finished in 1 minute 32.02 seconds. On Saturday, he won the season-opening downhill.

Matthias Mayer of Austria was second in 1:32.31 and Dominik Paris of Italy was third in 1:32.33.

Andrew Weibrecht of Lake Placid, New York, was the top American, finishing 20th in 1:33.42.

Travis Ganong of Squaw Valley, California, was 21st in 1:33.45, Jared Goldberg of Holladay, Utah, was 25th in 1:33.62, and Steven Nyman of Sundance, Utah, was 29th in 1:33.78.

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) - Nicole Hosp of Austria raced to her first World Cup victory since 2008 with a powerful final slalom run Sunday, and American Mikaela Shiffrin struggled to a fifth-place finish.

Hosp was nearly a second back after the first run, but glided through the deteriorating course in an unofficial time of 1 minute, 44.90 seconds. She held off Frida Hansdotter of Sweden by 0.19 seconds. Kathrin Zettel of Austria was third for her 10th podium finish at Aspen.

Shiffrin was the leader going into the final run and didn’t have any major mistakes, just a few breaks in her usually solid form. The teenager wound up 1.08 seconds behind Hosp.

This was Hosp’s first World Cup victory since Jan. 13, 2008, in a slalom race at Maribor, Slovenia.


ALICANTE, Spain (AP) - Team Vestas Wind skipper Chris Nicholson said it was “the No. 1 toughest decision of my life” to order his crew to abandon their 65-foot sloop in the dark after it was grounded on a remote Indian Ocean reef during the Volvo Ocean Race.

Nicholson spoke with volvooceanrace.com Sunday from the remote island of Ile du Sud, where the nine-man crew was transported by a local coast guard after the accident off Mauritius.

The Danish-backed sloop was doing about 19 knots when it hit the reef Saturday, yet there were no injuries, Nicholson said. He said he was amazed the boat survived the impact without breaking up immediately.

The 45-year-old Australian said he had planned to keep the crew on board until daybreak. The crew had practiced a drill for abandoning the boat 15 to 20 times, “never with the intention of having to do it,” he said.

But the “massive pounding” of the waves eventually led Nicholson to decide he had no option but to abandon ship.

He and his crew waded across the reef in knee-deep water before finding a dry spot where they waited for a coast guard boat to take them to the small island.

The accident happened on the second leg, from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi.

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