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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. Former heavyweight boxing champion Joe Frazier — who is perhaps best known for defeating Muhammad Ali in what was called the “Fight of the Century” — died last night at the age of 67 after a battle with liver cancer. The New York Times reflects on his career here.

2. Dr. Conrad Murray is currently on suicide watch after being found guilty of manslaughter in Michael Jackson’s death; he’ll remain behind bars at the LA County Jail until his sentencing on November 29. [via LAT]

3. Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou’s buzzed about World War II film The Flowers of War, which stars Christian Bale, has finally been given a release date in the US, making it eligible as more than just a foreign language entry at this year’s Academy Awards. [via Slashfilm]

4. Speaking of the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is standing behind Brett Ratner in the wake of the “rehearsal is for fags” comment that he made at a recent Q&A for his new film Tower Heist. “The bottom line is, this won’t and can’t happen again,” says AMPAS president Tom Sherak. “It will not happen again. He apologized and we will move forward.” [via Deadline]

5. While Drake’s highly-anticipated collaboration album with Lil Wayne is no longer happening, he will be working with Rick Ross on a new mix tape project called Y.O.L.O. (You Only Live Once). [via Vulture]

Bonus Buzz: 6 Best Minor Characters from Beavis and Butt-Head

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