Sept. 19, 2011
Sept. 19, 2011

Table of Contents
Sept. 19, 2011

  • As he prepares to return to the ring, against Victor Ortiz, Floyd Mayweather Jr. faces a family feud, felony charges, multiple lawsuits and the unthinkable possibility of defeat

  • Floyd Mayweather's handpicked opponent Victor Ortiz has already faced far bigger challenges

  • Before Samantha Stosur and Novak Djokovic won the U.S. Open singles titles, rain and schedule changes pushed players to the breaking point, and an umpire's call sent Serena Williams beyond it



| DIED |

This is an article from the Sept. 19, 2011 issue

At age 85, trailblazing female daredevil Betty Skelton. As a competitive stunt pilot, the 5'3", 100-pound Skelton (above) won three consecutive aerobatics championships from 1948 to '50; set two altitude records; and was the first woman to successfully execute an "inverted ribbon cut," a stunt that required her to fly upside down about 10 feet off the ground and sever a ribbon stretched between two poles. After meeting NASCAR founder Bill France in the early 1950s, Skelton began a second career driving race cars. In '56 she set a transcontinental speed record by driving from New York to L.A. in under 57 hours. Skelton, who grew up in Pensacola, Fla., watching Navy pilots train, began taking flying lessons when she was 10 and made her first solo flight at 12.


From his assistant gymnastics coach position at Ohio State, 2004 Olympic champion Paul Hamm, who was arrested on Sept. 3 in Upper Arlington, Ohio, and charged with assaulting a cab driver. Described by police as "highly intoxicated," Hamm, 28, allegedly hit and kicked the driver, damaged the cab's window and refused to pay his $23 fare. In the police video of the arrest, he can be heard telling officers, "I'm going to kill you guys." Hamm (right) began working with the Buckeyes in June while training for the 2012 Olympics. He faces three misdemeanor charges, two of which carry a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. His arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 15.


After suffering a seizure, first-year Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill, 50, who collapsed late in the fourth quarter of a 28--21 home loss to New Mexico State last Saturday. The coach, who has a history of seizures, was listed in stable condition after the game. Doctors say that the 88° game-day weather coupled with dehydration likely played a role in his collapse. Kill twice suffered on-field seizures when he was the coach at Southern Illinois, first in 2001 and again in '05, after which he was diagnosed with kidney cancer.


By a federal judge, the request of nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis to overturn a ruling barring him from being on the ballot for the state senate in New Jersey. Lewis, 50, who voted in California as recently as 2009, did not register to vote in New Jersey until April, just before declaring his candidacy for the state's Eighth Legislative District. Republicans have since claimed that Lewis, a Democrat, does not meet New Jersey's four-year residency requirement, but the former sprinter was permitted to remain on the primary ballot in June while the dispute was sorted out, and he won an uncontested race. Lewis, now a volunteer track coach in his hometown of Willingboro, N.J., is scheduled to argue his case—his attorney claims the residency requirement is unconstitutional—on Sept. 13 before the U.S. court of appeals in Philadelphia.


By prosecutors in Brazil, the investigation of the 2009 death of boxing champ Arturo Gatti, which had been ruled a suicide. Officials are examining new evidence uncovered by private investigators involved in a civil trial to determine the recipients of the boxer's multimillion-dollar estate. A lawyer representing Gatti's mother and brother hopes to use the new findings to get an indictment of his ex-wife, Amanda Rodrigues Gatti, who was written into the fighter's will three weeks before his death. She had been arrested after Gatti was found dead in a hotel room in Ipojuca, Brazil, but was quickly released after police ruled the death a suicide.

| DIED |

At age 71, Shigeri Akabane (left), better known as the midget wrestler Little Tokyo, following a battle with leukemia and, on Sept. 6, a heart attack. The 4-foot, 98-pound Akabane grew up in Tokyo's Nerima district, where he excelled at judo. He struck up a friendship with British midget wrestler Lord Littlebrook, and in 1986 the two joined the gigantic King Kong Bundy for a tag-team match at WrestleMania III—the trio lost to Hillbilly Jim and another pair of midget wrestlers: the Haiti Kid and Little Beaver. "Midget don't need gimmick," Akabane once said. "Midget is gimmick." He retired in the late 1990s to St. Joseph, Mo.



NFL QBs who have taken snaps since Sept. 6, 1998, when Peyton Manning began a run of 227 straight starts that ended on Sunday. (Peyton's brother Eli now has the longest active streak with 111.)


Weight in pounds of professional eater Sonya Thomas, 44, who last week set a world record by eating 183 chicken wings in 12 minutes.


Consecutive wins by wheelchair tennis player Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands, who on Sunday captured her sixth straight U.S. Open singles win.


Amount that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire fined rookies Joe Benson and Chris Parmelee for wearing suits—a no-no in no-frills Minnesota—on the day of their big league debuts at Target Field.


Consecutive batters who hit grand slams off of the Rangers' Yoshinori Tateyama—first for the Red Sox in their last at bat against Tateyama on Sept. 10, and then for the A's in their first at bat a week later. Only Greg McCarthy, in '98, has previously served up back-to-back slams.


By NBA players' association VP Roger Mason, "Looking like a season," a hint of a labor deal. Or not. Like these athletes whose tweets stirred trouble, Mason claims his account was hacked.

Lakers FRON ARTEST, on coach Phil Jackson, with whom he had a rocky relationship: Every[one] pray he can somehow close his yapper.

Patriots WRCHAD OCHOCINCO, after rule changes limiting dangerous hits: NFL no longer, NFFL = National Flag Football League.

Wizards FANDRAY BLATCHE, challenging a critical fan to a fight: I'm done with this fake internet... . meet me saturday after game I can throw these things homie


Who is the meanest player in baseball?

A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox C 29%

Chase Utley, Phillies 2B 13%

Milton Bradley, Mariners LF 11%

Carlos Zambrano, Cubs SP 5%

Vicente Padilla, Dodgers RP 4%


White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has said of his catcher, whose aggressive play has clearly chapped many an opponent, "If you play against him, you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less." ... In 2006, SI named Utley baseball's dirtiest player—for his often muddy uniform, not his demeanor... . Since '06, Padilla has plunked 56 batters, fifth among all pitchers, and Zambrano has hit 49 (10th)... . In a similar poll, the Indians' Jim Thome was voted MLB's nicest player.

Based on 215 MLB players who responded to SI's survey