Ex-heavyweight contender Ron Lyle dies at 70

Former heavyweight contender Ron Lyle, who fought Muhammad Ali

for the title in 1975 and later battled George Foreman, has died in

Denver at age 70.

Lyle died Saturday 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 in boxing, 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.