Nashville, Tenn. — Sports Illustrated has been ordered to pay $8.5 million in compensatory damages to former heavyweight boxer Randall “Tex” Cobb in a libel suit over a 1993 article that said Cobb fixed a fight and shared cocaine with the loser.

Cobb’s attorney, George Bochetto of Philadelphia’s Bochetto & Lentz, said a federal jury yesterday handed the magazine a one-two punch by delivering the compensatory verdict and deciding that the magazine’s conduct warranted punitive damages. The jury will return today to hear evidence on how much Cobb should get in punitives.

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