Congratulations on your fine article on the boxing situation.
Thanks a million for standing up for the faceless millions who merely pay indirectly for these fiascos by buying beer and razor blades.
Sock the rascals again.
W. W. FINKLER
THREE BLIND MICE
I've been tempted to write you ever since the Saxton-Gavilan fight (if you call it a fight), but decided to await your views which I now have in your current issue of SI. I don't think anything ever did boxing as much harm as the above mentioned exhibition. At the same time, I don't think anything will do as much good for the game as the article in your magazine.
November 15, 1954
Personally, I was much impressed when, at the start, both the Cuban national anthem and our own Star-Spangled Banner were played, but I feel the program chairman certainly missed the boat when he failed to render Three Blind Mice when the verdict was announced.
If Saxton was surprised at the verdict, and no boxer ever displayed greater surprise, I think he and his manager are in for a still greater surprise when they set out to make that "lot of money" they continually refer to. Frankly, I don't think Saxton would draw his breath as a champion, and I think the largest pot of gold he could ever dream of would have to come through a return bout with Gavilan. Time will tell.
With best wishes for your continued success.
High Point, N.C.
I HAVE GIVEN UP
Just 15 minutes ago received my Nov. 1st copy of your fine magazine and immediately read Budd Schulberg's article Boxing's Dirty Business Must Be Cleaned Up Now. I say more power to you.
I am an avid boxing fan, I support smalltime boxing by attending all events, and never miss a nationally televised fight. However, I have just about given up. Talk of "fix" has been going the rounds here for quite some time, but I have always been the one to defend it. However, I can no longer put up a defense.
After the Gavilan & Saxton farce, what is there left to say? Then right behind it comes the Harper & Flanagan get-together. Another home-town boy wins.
If boxing can't be cleaned up, at least let's keep it out of the homes.
In closing, let me say I enjoy your magazine and keep up the good work.
CHAS H. SMITH
Santa Monica, Calif.
Your picture of Manager Palermo lifting Saxton after their "imitation of a fist fight" would indicate that the wrong man entered the ring. Judging from his performance, it is dubious if Saxton could return the gesture.
Quebec City, Quebec
If nothing else does, your article on the odor arising from a recent fight makes your magazine worth while. Something must be done about boxing. Either the boxers are terrible or the promoters rotten—or both. Perhaps you could give small clubs a boost—those with up-and-coming fighters not yet spoiled by the men who run things.
I am so tired of the enthusiastic reporting of TV announcers. I wish just one would say, "Isn't this a lousy fight?"
B. L. FAIRBANKS
ACCESSORY AFTER THE WALTZ
Your article by Budd Schulberg in the Nov. 1st issue has the markings of a suit for slanderous and malicious victimization of parties who have interpreted the outcome of a pugilistic encounter based on actual performance of the combatants. Your bravado to print such prattle and woebegone asinine accusations should make you an accessory after the fact.
Since reading this article, I have completely reversed my opinion that sports-writers and commentators know through experience, how to judge a fight. We, the people who have to listen to such announcements on television and radio, will hereafter take all this with a large grain of salt (rock salt)!
EDWARD F. PEITROWSKI
PARDON THE EXPRESSION
I am much obliged to SI for giving me the opportunity to sound off about the Saxton-Gavilan "fight." It definitely was a lousy (if you will pardon this ex-schoolteacher's expression?) fight. However, I definitely agree with the judges' and referee's decision. It wasn't a case of Saxton's fighting a better fight than Gavilan; it was a clear case of Gavilan fighting a worse fight than Saxton. My comment at the end of the fight was that, however dull the fight, Saxton was the winner. My husband concurred. Then the ring announcer substantiated my thinking. When I read that some reporters gave Gavilan as many as ten rounds, I was flabbergasted. Gavilan did nothing, but nothing, until the last round when it looked like he figured that maybe the fight wasn't in the bag, so he had better start making like a fighter.
I predict that Saxton will lose his title in his first defense of it, but he won't lose it to Gavilan, unless Gavilan can do better than he did last week.
MY OTHER OUTCRY
Since your first issue last summer I've been a fairly constant reader, and have enjoyed and learned much from the articles and superb photographs. I hope you won't mind my registering a mild kick over two items in your Oct. 25 issue.
Of these the most bothersome to me is the array of game-hog photos on page 26—the derricked moose, the eleven trussed-up blacktail bucks, and the surplus buffalo potted in some Pennsylvania backwoods pasture. I've been a hunter most of my life, but I never had much affection for the sort of gunners who enjoy posing for the public prints with the remains of their quarry. They remind me of the old duck-kill pictures of 50 years ago, where gunners would be so buried in waterfowl that you could hardly find their faces. Now the sons and grandsons of those Nimrods find it hard to locate enough ducks for a four-bird daily limit. Maybe you have a lot of readers who like pictures of the butcheries, but I just want to register as one who doesn't.
My other outcry is over the Gilligan article on North Dakota foxes and pheasants. It seems to have been written only for the education of the few characters who refuse to admit that predators do so kill game, and healthy specimens of game at that.
Sure, foxes kill pheasants. So do raccoons, snakes, badgers, ground-squirrels, crows, skunks, weasels and wandering housecats. But who made a census around Bowman, N.D. to prove that foxes were the Great Killers and Egg Eaters that Gilligan's article and title indicate? In that country, I would suspect that the foxes would have ample competition from the other predators I've mentioned, and from coyotes too, but Gilligan dismisses the others as minor nuisances. A more thorough field study seems to be in order.
He hardly hints at drought, flooded nests, disease, the hunting take and other causes of mortality to pheasant eggs, young or adults. And he doesn't mention that if each pair of Bowman nesting pheasants raised seven deathproof young per season, North Dakota would be up to its neck in pheasants within five years. What these immortal birds would find for food is hardly worth thinking about. Or does Gilligan contend that only man is good enough to be allowed to kill game birds, and that foxes and other critters should be exterminated if they refuse to stick to a strictly mouse ration?
As a boy, I used to hunt cougars, coyotes and wildcats with a government hunter on the Kaibab Plateau in southern Utah. He killed over 600 cougars alone in 10 years. The mule deer multiplied thereafter so fast that they wiped out their own forage, forced ranchers to remove cattle from the area, and degenerated into starving, disease-carrying wrecks. So I am as leery of these predator-exterminating writers as I am of the armchair blokes who claim that predatory animals either cannot or will not kill anything but sick or crippled quarry.
There are many other fallacies in the Gilligan survey. It admits that the study was confined to only 123 nests actually located and watched in a four square-mile area in a favorable pheasant region that must have carried a much larger number of nests that were too well concealed to be found by humans. Many such nests may have come through to produce chicks, even though most of the chicks may later have been killed by all sorts of causes.
I honestly think that Gilligan, and perhaps some of the SI editorial staff, could profit by some of the really great field work done on game by men such as Durward Allen, Edminster, and Grainge in the past 10 years. Allen's Wildlife Legacy is the best argument I've seen yet on the fact that adequate cover, year-round food and natural increase are a much better solution to the game shortage than small-bag limits, predator-extermination and artificial stocking. Food and cover are VITAL.
Some of the people Gilligan quotes just make no sense whatever—such as the guy who claimed that Hudson River pheasants, with their Mongolian ancestry, just weren't equipped to deal with American foxes. Asia swarms with foxes and other predatory mammals and birds quite as lethal as anything we can offer. Yet the pheasants have flourished throughout Asia for a long time now, thanks to ample cover and abundant food and freedom from the meddlings of theorists of either the predator-killer or the fox-eats-nothing-but-mice schools of thought.
In Maine last summer, half-wild house cats had become a terrible scourge on young and nesting grouse. In Oxford County, in two weeks, I shot 12 cats, all of them more than a mile from any dwelling. All were plump and prosperous from their chipmunk and bird diets. Game wardens up there who know their business told me that foxes, goshawks and other native predators were not worth considering as grouze hazards compared with cats, prolonged rainy weather and parasites. The only natural predator they felt in need of drastic control was the raccoon, and only a renewed market for coonskin furs is likely to bring much improvement in that situation.
I'm not bickering for SI to become a crusading sheet, God knows, but as a new magazine with a big circulation in such a controversial field as sports and outdoor life, I think it might pay off to carry a few pieces on game management by men such as Allen, who know what they are talking about.
GEORGE DOCK, JR.
•An excellent idea. Dr. Durward Allen, eminent ecologist, formerly in charge of wildlife investigation on agricultural lands for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and associate professor of wildlife management at Purdue University, will present the ecologist's view in SI, Nov. 22.—ED.
IT NEEDED TO BE SAID
Your article by Mr. Edmund Gilligan entitled The Foxes Thai Never Eat Pheasants is a message that has needed to be said for the last 25 years.
Mr. Gilligan has handled the subject as only he could and you are to be congratulated for printing it. Well done....
I personally have some money I would like to use to distribute reprints of this article near and far....
MANLY F. MINER
The Jack Miner Migratory Bird Foundation Inc.
WHERE CAN THEY COMPETE?
Mr. Canham is oh, so right in labeling the fact that we don't even compete regularly in six Olympic events as a "serious oversight." Only rarely in America is competition conducted in the hop-step-and-jump, steeplechase, 400-meter hurdles, hammer throw, 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs. It is no wonder then that America sometimes makes a rather poor showing in most of these events.
As Don Canham points out, many of our best athletes retire before their prime. The Russians this summer inquired about Olympic 400-hurdle winner Charley Moore and were amazed to hear that he was no longer running. Many of our best runners and throwers retire early, not because they are tired of competition, but because they can't find it. There are fairly good track programs in New York and California, and to a lesser extent here in Chicago (although competition opportunities in this area are increasing), but on the whole the graduated athlete has to look hard and long to find sufficient competition.
The solution to this problem is by no means simple, nor is it as difficult as might be expected. Many colleges and towns sponsor large relay meets in the spring. If clubs and unattached athletes were allowed to compete, even if only in one or two open events (and some of the meets do allow this already), there would be more incentive for the runner and thrower to continue competing after leaving the interscholastic program.
HAL HIGDON, President
U. of Chicago Track Club
As a member of the last Olympic team I read and was favorably impressed with your article, Russia Will Win the 1956 Olympics. I hope that many more articles will appear on track and field. They should stimulate interest and help to solve the problem.
Last summer I toured Europe on a personally financed development tour, competing in my event. At present, individual fanaticism is the only means available to overcome the problem. However, few youngsters would be willing to sacrifice in the same way.
Track officials in Europe are amazed at our lack of programing for our youth, particularly in view of what they consider the tremendous wealth of material in this country. We are preoccupied with big money and professional sports. Still, we should be able to organize some track and field program to fill the need. Articles like Can-ham's are a step in the right direction.
•Bob Backus, former Tufts track-and-field star, recently captured unofficial U.S. records by tossing 35-pound weight 63 ft., 5 in.—ED.
Don Canham's warning (SI, Oct. 25) that we face a very strong possibility of suffering our first track and field defeat, by Russia, in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia, should not be taken lightly.... Toward this effort they have made tremendous strides.
To illustrate the Soviet advancement, a comparison can be made of their national records in the 19 standard Olympic events for the years indicated. In 1946 the oldest U.S.S.R. record in the books dated back to 1938. All the present records were made since 1950, with the exception of the high jump, which is of 1948 vintage. To further emphasize Russia's improvement, 10 of the present records were made this year. Actually the American national records are superior in 14 events, but they extend back through some twenty years.
Hop, Step & Jump
14' 1¼ "
*1934 scoring system