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'Golden Age' heavyweight Ron Lyle dies

Nov. 27, 2011 at 2:10 PM

DENVER, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Former heavyweight boxer Ron Lyle died this weekend at a Denver hospital at the age of 70, his family announced.

Lyle, who tangled with the likes of Muhammad Ali and George Foreman during the golden days of the heavyweight class in the 1970s, was admitted Nov. 18 with a stomach abscess that had become septic, his sister, Sharon Dempsey, said.

Lyle never won the heavyweight title, but he was a mainstay of the boxing scene in the 1970s along with Ali, Foreman, Joe Frazier and Ernie Shavers.

"Ron was a good-hearted guy, but he could fight like hell," said Shavers, who squared off with Lyle in 1975. "He was tough. He could take a good punch."

Lyle learned to box during a prison stretch for the second-degree murder of a gang rival. He turned pro at the advanced age of 29 and went on to participate in a trio of golden-age bouts against Ali, Foreman and Shavers. He beat Shavers but lost to Ali on a TKO and a late knockout by Foreman.

Lyle retired with a professional record of 43-7-1, with 31 KOs. He recently coached boxing for kids with the Salvation Army in Denver.

Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.

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