Move aside, M.J. In Chicago's gastronomy game, Slammin' Sammy is stepping up to the plate.

Michael Jordan's Restaurant will become Sammy Sosa's Restaurant, a move prompted by declining sales at the basketball star's eatery just north of downtown Chicago, said H. Gene Silverberg, a controlling partner in both restaurant ventures.

But he acknowledged the switch also is related to a rift between Jordan and the restaurant's owners. Jordan apparently stopped eating at the restaurant after the owners rejected his ideas for making it more upscale, Silverberg said.

Jordan's restaurant will be moved to a smaller location early next year, Silverberg said. He said sales at Jordan's have slipped about 20 percent in the last couple of years, although it remained profitable.

For his part, Sosa said he's going to consult with the chefs on the Spanish and American menu and has no problem appearing at the eatery.

"One reason I want to do this restaurant is to [thank] people from all over the world," said Sosa, who admits he can't cook. "I've never had a restaurant before. . . . People will see me there quite often."


House Supports Measures

A U.S. House of Representatives panel voted 14-1 for legislation to fight corruption in the boxing industry by loosening the control of promoters and tightening curbs on bribery.

"For too long in boxing, the fix has been in," Rep. Michael Oxley (R-Ohio), chief sponsor of the boxing bill, said at yesterday's meeting. "Boxers and fans deserve a fair fight."

The bill seeks to end what Oxley said are "abusive business practices" by making several changes in the relationship between boxers and their promoters and managers. It matches a similar measure that the Senate passed in July, and there is strong sentiment in the House for moving the bill this year. . . .

Michael Watson, who is brain injured from a world title bout eight years ago, is entitled to damages from the British Boxing Board of Control because he did not receive "proper attention," a High Court judge ruled.

Judge Ian Kennedy, dealing only with the issue of liability, held that Watson would have made a good recovery if proper medical procedures had been followed. Watson, who is reported to have lost half of his brain function and is paralyzed on his left side, is believed to be seeking about $1.6 million in damages.


Burn Prevails

Oscar Pareja scored in the 70th minute to give the Dallas Burn a 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution in Foxboro, Mass.

The Revolution (11-20) has won only twice since the all-star break and remains one point behind Miami for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth. Dallas (17-13) already has clinched a playoff berth.

Auto Racing

Wallace Takes Pole

Rusty Wallace, having a great time qualifying, will occupy another front-row seat Sunday in the MBNA Gold 400 in Dover, Del.

Now, after winning his second straight pole--with a track-record run at 159.964 mph--he wants his second victory of the season.

"The car was hot right off the truck," Wallace said after taking his Ford around Dover Downs International Speedway in 22.505 seconds. "The guys in the shop had it perfectly prepared."

In winning his fourth pole of the season and 26th of his career, Wallace broke Bobby Labonte's track record of 159.320, set in June for the MBNA Platinum 400. . . .

Sam Schmidt was the fastest driver in both the sessions at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in practice for the 500. In his Sprint PCS car with a G Force chassis, the Las Vegas resident turned a fast lap of 208.849 mph in the morning and went 207.876 mph later in the day. . . .

If Juan Montoya is feeling the pressure of his first CART championship battle, it isn't showing. The 23-year-old rookie from Colombia, coming off his poorest qualifying effort of the season--16th in Monterey, Calif.--took the provisional pole in the opening round of qualifying for the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston.

Montoya turned a lap of 91.797 mph. Christian Fittipaldi, coming back after missing five races with a head injury in a crash during testing in Madison, Ill., was second at 91.673.


Inkster Takes Lead

Juli Inkster, needing one more victory to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame, shot a 5-under-par 67 to grab a share of the first-round lead in the $800,000 Safeway LPGA Golf Championship in Portland, Ore. Rosie Jones birdied No. 17 to pull into a tie for the lead. . . .

Jimmy Powell, 64, eagled the 18th hole at The Golf Center in Mason, Ohio, for a 4-under 66 to share the first-round lead with Jim Colbert in the $1.4 million Kroger Senior Classic.

Nobody over 63 ever has won a Senior PGA Tour event, but Powell is the only player to win twice since turning 60. He won the First of America Classic in 1995 when he was 60, and the Brickyard Crossing Championship in 1996 at 61. . . .

Stephen Ames shot a 3-under 69 to maintain his one-stroke lead in the Texas Open in San Antonio despite slipups on the back nine and threats from a pack of players right behind him.


Australia, France in Front

A 29-year-old rookie led Australia, while veteran Cedric Pioline powered France as the two nations took commanding leads in their Davis Cup semifinals.

Australia took a 2-0 lead over Russia and France went up 2-0 on Belgium in their best-of-five series.

Lleyton Hewitt and Davis Cup rookie Wayne Arthurs gave Australia its commanding lead. Arthurs upset Yevgeny Kafelnikov, 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-0, after Hewitt opened the series in Brisbane, Australia, by defeating Marat Safin, 7-6 (7-0), 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.

Playing in the southern French city of Pau, Sebastien Grosjean defeated Belgian teenager Xavier Malisse, 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3), and Pioline defeated Filip Dewulf, 6-3, 5-7, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. Both Australia and France could clinch victory in today's doubles. . . .

Top-seeded Lindsay Davenport crushed No. 5 Amelie Mauresmo, 6-1, 6-1, to advance to the semifinals of the Toyota Princess Cup in Tokyo. Also moving into the semis were second-seeded Monica Seles, No. 7 Amy Frazier and No. 8 Ai Sugiyama.


Vandeweghe Hired

The Dallas Mavericks hired Kiki Vandeweghe as an assistant coach, 19 years after he refused to play for the NBA team. Vandeweghe, who was traded to the Denver Nuggets shortly after the Mavericks selected him 11th overall out of UCLA in 1980, was jeered by Dallas fans throughout his 13-year career.

CAPTION: Jim Colbert chips toward 18th hole, which Jimmy Powell eagled. The two tied for first-round lead in Kroger Senior Classic with 4-under 66s. Five are one stroke back.