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Originally published Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 8:36 PM

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Oracle Team USA hangs on

Skipper Jimmy Spithill and defending champion Oracle Team USA sped around San Francisco Bay to win Race 12 by 31 seconds Thursday and prevent Emirates Team New Zealand from sailing off with the America’s Cup.

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Sailing

Oracle Team USA hangs on

Skipper Jimmy Spithill and defending champion Oracle Team USA sped around San Francisco Bay to win Race 12 by 31 seconds Thursday and prevent Emirates Team New Zealand from sailing off with the America’s Cup.

Oracle continued to improve sailing the only upwind leg on the course and at one point was foiling at 30 knots — riding only on hydrofoils, with both hulls completely out of the water — as it zigzagged ahead of the Kiwis heading toward the Golden Gate Bridge.

Shortly after Oracle’s big win, the race committee postponed a race for the fourth time in three days because the wind limit was exceeded.

With the Kiwis at match point, Oracle Team USA responded with a dominating performance in Race 12 to cut its deficit to 8-2.

Spithill, the Oracle skipper and helmsman, continues to project plenty of positive energy. With the Cup in the balance, he clearly won the start after Team New Zealand got too close to the line too early and had to slow its progress to avoid a penalty.

Oracle crossed the start with a three-boat-length lead of five seconds and never trailed after that.

“I thought the way the guys were sailing the boat was the best we’ve sailed it,” Spithill said. “Upwind and foiling in that sort of breeze was pretty impressive, and it was really just zero mistakes.”

Boxing

Richest fight in history

Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s dominating win over Canelo Alvarez was the richest fight ever, a box-office smash at the arena in Las Vegas and on television.

Showtime said at least 2.2 million homes bought the pay-per-view for the bout, second only to the 2.44 million homes in Mayweather’s 2007 fight against Oscar De La Hoya.

With the highest pay-per-view boxing price — at an average of more than $70 — the fight will generate nearly $150 million in revenue in TV sales alone.

Nevada boxing regulators said the gate for the bout was just more than $20 million, also a record. A total of 16,146 seats were sold at an average price of almost $1,240 per ticket.

Promoter Richard Schaefer said total revenues would approach $200 million upon final count, surpassing the $165 million generated by the Mayweather-De La Hoya fight.

Mayweather earned $41.5 million, while Alvarez was guaranteed $5 million. Both will make more based on a percentage of pay-per-view revenue.

Auro racing

NAPA dropping Waltrip

NAPA Auto Parts said it will end its multimillion-dollar sponsorship of Michael Waltrip Racing at the end of the year, the latest fallout from the team’s attempt to manipulate a race to get Martin Truex Jr. into NASCAR’s version of the playoffs.

NAPA is Truex’s primary sponsor in a deal believed to be worth at least $15 million a year.

Juan Pablo Montoya, 37, will return to IndyCar next season, joining Team Penske and drivers Helio Castroneves and Will Power. Montoya will be driving a Chevy/Dallara.

In his heyday, there were few better open-wheel drivers than Montoya, winner of the 2000 Indy 500 and CART champion in his rookie year in 1999. He crossed to Formula One in 2001 and scored seven victories but has not enjoyed much success in NASCAR.

Tennis

Murray needs back surgery

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray will have surgery on a longstanding back problem and miss the rest of the season.

The third-ranked Murray will miss the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London on Nov. 4-11, along with the Masters events in Shanghai and Paris.

Croatia, Lithuania advance

Croatia reached the semifinals of the European championships for the first time in 18 years by defeating Ukraine 84-72 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Croatia will play Lithuania, which edged Italy 81-77.

France and two-time defending champ Spain will play the other semifinal Friday.

ELSEWHERE

Nicolas Mahut of France upset third-seeded Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-4, 6-4 to reach the Moselle Open quarterfinals in Metz, France.

• American qualifer Vania King advanced to the semifinals of Guangzhou Open in China, beating Monica Puig of Puerto Rico 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5).

• Top-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska advanced to the quarterfinals of the Korea Open in Seoul with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Estrella Cabeza Candela of Spain.

Vegas Vacation beat Urbanite Hanover in 1:50 to win the Little Brown Jug at the Delaware (Ohio) County Fairgrounds in the second leg of the 3-year-old pacing Triple Crown.

• Short-track speedskater Francois-Louis Tremblay, 33, is retiring after a career in which he won five Olympic medals for Canada.

• The U.S. women’s national volleyball team advanced to the semifinals of the Continental Championships in Omaha, Neb., after defeating Cuba 25-9, 25-13, 25-12.

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