Unbeaten Whitfield unanimous winner

In Tunica, Miss., unbeaten Rayonta Whitfield of Hephzibah won a unanimous decision over Alejandro Moreno in a six-round bantamweight bout.

All three judges scored it 60-54 for the 25-year-old Whitfield, who won each round in Saturday's bout at Fitzgerald's Casino.

Whitfield improved to 16-0 with eight knockouts. Moreno, a 28-year-old native of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, dropped to 21-21 with three draws and 10 knockouts.

Whitfield has been offered an ESPN title fight in April.

- Ricky Hatton came to Las Vegas to win back his 140-pound title and make an big impression doing it. He accomplished the first, taking Juan Urango's title with a unanimous 12-round decision to set up a lucrative fight in June against Jose Luis Castillo.


Utley, Phillies agree on $85 million deal

All-Star second baseman Chase Utley and the Philadelphia Phillies agreed to an $85 million, seven-year contract.

Utley hit .309 last season with 40 doubles, 32 homers, 102 RBI and 131 runs. He also had a 35-game hitting streak that tied for the 10th-longest in major league history and longest by a second baseman.

Utley also became the 15th player in major league history - and second on the Phillies - to hit .300, and record 200 hits, 30 home runs, 100 RBI, 40 doubles and 130 runs in one season. He and Hall of Famer Chuck Klein (1930 and 1932) are the only Phillies to accomplish the feat.

- Vern Ruhle, a former major league pitcher and coach for several teams, died after a yearlong battle with cancer. He was 55.

Ruhle pitched for Detroit, Houston, Cleveland and the Cali-fornia Angels from 1974-86, going 67-88 with a 3.73 ERA. He was a pitching coach with Houston, Philadelphia and the New York Mets before joining the Reds organization in 2004.

Ruhle began 2006 as the Reds' pitching coach, but he was diagnosed during a routine physical in February and missed the entire season. He had been assigned to work as the Reds' minor league pitching rehabilitation coordinator for the upcoming season.

Figure Skating

Meissner is blazing own trail to the top

There's a well-worn path figure skaters take to the top of their sport. They climb the ranks in their own country, win a national title, then claim the world championship.

Kimmie Meissner is blazing her own trail.

The 17-year-old American skipped the national title and went straight for the worlds, winning her first crown last March. It's the first time since Kristi Yamaguchi in 1991 that a woman has won the worlds before having a senior national title.

She'll get a chance to fill in that gap on her resume this week. With Sasha Cohen taking a break to focus on her acting career and Michelle Kwan's future up in the air after hip surgery and a dozen years at the top of the sport, Meissner is the overwhelming favorite at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Spokane, Wash.

Competition starts on Tuesday.


Pasini, Follis record first World Cup wins

In Demino, Russia, Italy's Renato Pasini and Arianna Follis won freestyle sprint races for their first cross-country World Cup titles this season.

Pasini, competing in only his second race this season, won in 2 minutes, 27.9 seconds.

In the women's race, Follis was timed at 2 minutes, 49.9 seconds - 0.3 seconds ahead of Germany's Claudia Nystad-Kunzel and Kikkan Randall of the United States.

- In Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy, Karen Putzer of Italy was the surprise winner in a World Cup giant slalom.

Skiing through heavy fog, Putzer led both runs and compiled a two-run time of 2 minutes, 46.93 seconds on the Olympia delle Tofane course.

- A World Cup men's super-combi race in Val D'Isere, France, was canceled because of poor weather. Visibility was limited by heavy fog at the top of the course.



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