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In brief

Swiss top Kiwis for 3-0 lead

By PETE YOUNG, TIMES WIRES

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 18, 2003


AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Nothing but stern.

That's what Alinghi of Switzerland showed beleaguered Team New Zealand all the way around the course. New Zealand-born skipper Russell Coutts sailed another masterful race, steering Alinghi to a 23-second win, giving the Swiss a 3-0 lead in the best-of-nine series.

Two more wins by Alinghi and the oldest trophy in international sports will belong to a landlocked country for the first time.

"Race 3, it puts you over the halfway point," said Alinghi tactician Brad Butterworth, another Kiwi. "It's a big deal."

Alinghi led from the start, gained immediately from a wind shift, then kept its black-and-red boat ahead of the Kiwi black boat the rest of the way around the six-leg, 18.5-nautical mile course.

Coutts never has lost in the America's Cup match and extended his record to 12 straight victories, a streak spanning three regattas and two countries. Two defenders have rallied from 0-2 deficits to win the Cup, but none from 0-3.

BOXING: Tyson bout canceled

Mike Tyson's fight with Clifford Etienne was called off after a week of erratic behavior that again raised questions about the future of the 36-year-old former heavyweight champion. After waiting days for Tyson to give them a signal on his willingness to fight, Tyson's handlers canceled Saturday's fight after Tyson missed a flight to Memphis for the second straight day.

The official word was Tyson was too sick (flu) to fight. But before he became ill Friday, Tyson had left his trainer waiting for him at the gym three straight days and had gotten a large tattoo on the left side of his face. There were no immediate plans to reschedule.

ANOTHER CANCELLATION: Shane Mosley could not get his price, so his Sept. 13 fight with Oscar De La Hoya in Las Vegas is off. Mosley would not sign for a $4.25-million purse, so promoter Bob Arum withdrew the offer. Arum said De La Hoya will look at a rematch with Fernando Vargas or fight another contender. Moseley wanted more money because De La Hoya was to be guaranteed $12-million.

OLYMPICS: Whistleblowers protected

USOC employees with information that could help Congress clean up problems with the group will be protected by whistleblower laws, Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell said. Campbell, R-Colo., said he hopes employees and athletes will be candid in discussing allegations of corruption and inefficiency at a public meeting in Colorado Springs next week.

ET CETERA

COLLEGES: South Florida's David Austen was named Conference USA pitcher of the week. Austen, a senior right-hander, allowed two hits (both in the first inning), two walks and struck out a career-high eight in 72/3 innings in a 6-1 win Sunday over Jacksonville.

HORSES: Final Destination gained the lead past the eighth pole and held on to win the $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap at Santa Anita. Ridden by Victor Espinoza, the 5-year-old mare returned $5.80, $3 and $2.60.

WINTER SPORTS: Four-time Iditarod champion Doug Swingley won the U.P. 200 Sled Dogs Championship in Marquette, Mich., a race that began Friday and was hampered by snow.

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