World Boxing Organization heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko retained his title Saturday night, stopping 41-year-old Ray Mercer in the sixth round of a scheduled 12-rounder at Atlantic City, N.J.
The up-and-coming Ukrainian (39-1) knocked down Mercer in the first round and cut him in the fifth, using a powerful left jab that kept the rugged Mercer on the defensive throughout.
In the sixth, Klitschko backed Mercer into the ropes and unloaded a hard right hand that snapped Mercer's head back and seemed to take the fight out of him.
Mercer (30-5-1) moved to the other rope but when Klitschko unloaded another flurry of punches and the blood streamed down Mercer's face. Referee Randy Neumann stepped in, ending it at 1:08 of the round.
"I got beat, fair and square," Mercer said.
Ron Francis signed a two-year, $11-million contract extension with the Carolina Hurricanes less than 48 hours before the 39-year-old captain could have become an unrestricted free agent.
Francis, who made $5 million a year the last four seasons with the Hurricanes, will earn $5.5 million in each of the next two seasons after leading Carolina to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in franchise history.
The Dallas Stars traded the rights to goalie Ed Belfour, a soon-to-be free agent, and right wing Cameron Mann to the Nashville Predators for left wing David Gosselin and a fifth-round pick in next year's draft.
Belfour will be an unrestricted free agent Monday, and the Stars already announced they had no plans to re-sign the 37-year-old.
If the Predators also don't sign Belfour, they would be entitled to a compensatory draft pick.
The Ottawa Senators acquired defenseman Brian Pothier from the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for left wing Shawn McEachern and the Senators' sixth round draft pick in 2004.
The Detroit Lions signed free-agent cornerback Eric Davis and released safety Kourtney Young. Davis, who played for the Denver Broncos last season, entered the NFL as a second-round selection of San Francisco in the 1990 draft.
In Arena League games: Shane Stafford threw five touchdowns as the Tampa Bay Storm (4-7) rolled to a 50-40 victory over the Georgia Force (4-7) at Atlanta.... Eddie Brown caught nine passes for 164 yards and five touchdowns as the Indiana Firebirds (5-6) scored a 56-42 victory over the Grand Rapids Rampage (6-5) at Indianapolis.... Jay McDonagh threw for 290 yards and Mike Horacek scored five touchdowns as the New Jersey Gladiators (7-4) moved into first place in the Eastern Division with a 62-45 over the Detroit Fury (1-10) at Auburn Hills, Mich.... Mark Grieb threw six touchdown passes and the San Jose SaberCats (11-0) tied a league record with their 11th consecutive victory, a 58-41 decision over the Dallas Desperados (6-5) at Dallas.
Katie Smith scored 25 points as the Minnesota Lynx ended a five-game WNBA losing streak by defeating the Orlando Miracle, 67-59, before 5,565 at Minneapolis.
Smith scored 15 points in the first half as the Lynx (5-8) won for the first time since June 13 against Portland. Orlando (7-6) committed 18 turnovers, resulting in 22 Minnesota points, and shot just 38%.
Odartey Blankson, who announced in April that he was leaving the Marquette men's basketball team, says he will attend Nevada Las Vegas in the fall. The 6-foot-7 forward will have to sit out next season under NCAA transfer rules.
University of Richmond assistant men's basketball coach Mike Wilson has been fired, reportedly because of inaccurate information in media guide biographies, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
Wilson's biography in the Auburn media guide stated he was the head coach at Pittsburgh's Bethel Park High from 1979-81. However, Red Ryan coached Bethel Park from 1975-98.
An 11-year-old boy collapsed and died while waiting to bat in a baseball game in Berea, Ohio. The cause of death was under investigation.
The boy, whose name was withheld by the Cuyahoga County coroner, was taken to Southwest General Health Center, where he was declared dead, Fire Capt. Jim Clancy said.
No. 2-seeded Lori Stern of Ojai defeated third-seeded Tracy Lin of Anaheim Canyon High, 7-5, 6-4, to win the girls' 18 division title of the USTA Southern California Junior Sectional Championships at Los Caballeros Racquet and Sports Club in Fountain Valley.
Final matches in other divisions will be played today. Doug Stewart of Malibu will make his second consecutive appearance in the boys' 18 division title match at 10:30 a.m., when he faces Derrick Bauer of Marina del Rey.
Roland Latina, the retired chief glove designer at Rawlings Sporting Goods in St. Louis, died Tuesday of cancer at his home in Belleville, Ill. He was 78.
Former All-Southeastern Conference and University of Mississippi quarterback Doug Elmore has died at 63.
Elmore died Friday at Hospice Ministries in Jackson, Miss.