Fred Whitfield became the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's first black all-around champion yesterday in Las Vegas and also won his fourth calf roping title.

"It's a great accomplishment to win in a predominantly white association," Whitfield said. "There's tons of black cowboys out there, but none have really had the chance to be in the position a Fred Whitfield is in."

Whitfield, of Hockley, Tex., had a 9.8-second run in calf roping to finish out of the money in the final round of the National Finals Rodeo, but it was enough to win the NFR average bonus of $33,105 and jump from third to first in standings with $191,727 in season earnings.

The only other black cowboy to win an NFR event was bull rider Charles Sampson in 1982.


Nicklaus, Watson Win

Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson won the Senior PGA Tour title in the Diners Club Matches in Newport Beach, Calif., beating Bruce Fleisher and David Graham, 1-up. Fred Couples and Mark Calcavecchia won the PGA Tour division, and Juli Inkster and Dottie Pepper won the LPGA Tour title.


Hopkins Retains Title

Bernard Hopkins successfully defended his IBF middleweight title in Miami, outpointing Antwun Echols in a lopsided unanimous decision.

"I showed the world how I can back up and beat you like Sugar Ray Robinson and Willie Pep," said Hopkins, who had winning scores of 118-110 from two judges and 119-109 from the third.

Hopkins, 34, improved to 36-2-1 with the 10th successful defense of the 160-pound title he won in April 1995.

"All these opponents have called me an old man," Hopkins said. "Did I look like an old man tonight?"

Echols (22-3-1) got off to a fast start with a series of rights to the head, but Hopkins used his footwork and right hand to take control of the fight at Miccosukee Resort and Convention Center.

In the fifth round, Hopkins stunned Echols with a right to the head and followed with rights to the body and head.

On the undercard, junior lightweight James Baker of Washington improved to 10-1, including four KOs, with a six-round unanimous decision over Manuel Sepeda of Austin.


IOC Picks Nike

Nike will replace Reebok as a sponsor at the Sydney Olympics, the International Olympic Committee announced. The sports gear company also will outfit the Australian Olympic and Paralympic teams, IOC Vice President Dick Pound said.


Familiar Foes

Drawn last week into the same qualifying group for the 2002 World Cup, Germany and England were put in the same group for next summer's European Championship. The two countries, which also will be competing in next summer's vote on the host nation for the 2006 World Cup, play June 17 in Charleroi, Belgium. The top two teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals. Portugal and Romania also were drawn into Group A.

College Football

Houston Hires Dimel

Dana Dimel, Wyoming's football coach the last three seasons, was hired as Houston's coach. Dimel, 37, was 23-12 at Wyoming, including a 7-4 record this season.