DENVER — Former heavyweight contender Ron Lyle, who fought Muhammad Ali for the title in 1975 and later battled George Foreman, died Saturday at age 70.
Lyle died from complications from a sudden stomach ailment, said Ron McKinney, a Salvation Army official in Denver. Details weren’t immediately available.
McKinney, a family friend who hired Lyle to start the charity’s boxing program in 2002, said Lyle retired from the program last December but continued to work out at the gym every day.
“I just saw him yesterday (Friday),” McKinney said. “You looked at him and he looked like he was ready to step into the ring. Shake hands with him, and it’s like shaking a piece of steel.”
The gym, called Red Shield Cox-Lyle Boxing, would show replays of Lyle’s fights every Friday night as inspiration for some of the program’s 100 students, McKinney said.
Lyle lost to both Ali and Foreman in the mid-1970s.
After his career, Lyle lived in Las Vegas where he trained young boxers and worked as a security guard.
He made a brief comeback in 1995 at age 54 and hoped to fight Foreman again in a fight jokingly billed as “Old and Older.” Lyle hoped for a better result than the 1976 match in which he took a beating from Foreman. He also toyed with the idea of fighting Mike Tyson but neither fight materialized.
WEIGHTLIFTING: Super heavyweight lifter Vasily Alekseyev, who dominated the sport throughout the 1970s and set 80 world records for the Soviet Union, has died. He was 69.
The Russian weightlifting federation confirmed the death Friday of Alekseyev, describing him as “one of the strongest people on the planet” and a “legend of Soviet sport.”
Alekseyev was unbeaten from 1970 to 1978, winning two Olympic gold medals and eight consecutive world titles.
He held the world record of 1,419 pounds for three lifts set in 1972. The record will stand because the triple competition is no longer held.
Alekseyev died in a clinic in Munich, Germany, where he was being treated for heart problems.
He won his first Olympic gold medal in 1972 in Munich and his second four years later in Montreal. He retired after falling short at the 1980 Games in Moscow.
Sports Illustrated put him on the cover of its April 14, 1975, issue with the title “The World’s Strongest Man.” Alekseyev weighed more than 352 pounds at the time.