ANY QUESTIONS NOW?
The time, 10:15 p.m.; the date, March 14: I have just seen a typical example of the fight "racket"—a match between Carmen Basilio and Johnny Saxton.
This is an article from the March 26, 1956 issue
Your previous articles on boxing's dirty business (James Norris and his cohorts) could never be questioned now!
My father even went so far as to call the local sportswriter, and in the short time of 15 minutes this man had received four such calls on the so-called verdict of the fight.
Boxing moguls had better begin to realize that television and its followers cannot be fooled and that such "obvious" decisions will soon place the weekly fights in the same category as fast-dying wrestling.
Incidentally, this is the first time I have ever written any magazine nor have I ever felt so strongly against a decision.
MRS. STANLEY KRUSZEWSKI
W. Lafayette, Ind.
•For Martin Kane's eyewitness report turn to A Mighty Peculiar Fight, page 31.—ED.
What further proof is needed to convince all fight fans of the need to correct boxing's dirty business (as you describe it) than the outlandish decision of the judges in the Saxton-Basilio championship fight? How could any intelligent judge rule as these men did, unless instructed to do so by the "powers that be" in boxing's dirty business?
As a boxing fan of long standing, going back to the days of Battling Nelson, Joe Gans, George Dixon and others of that era, as well as a ringside attendant at hundreds of fights, I cannot possibly conceive of such a rank decision, particularly with a championship at stake. In my opinion, Basilio won at least 10 rounds, with Saxton getting three or even two. Basilio undoubtedly made the fight with his aggressiveness and intent to fight, while Saxton continually avoided fighting by backtracking, pushing, wrestling and butting. Isn't it about time that boxing in Illinois is cleaned up?
WHAT ABOUT IT, GOVERNOR? LET'S DO SOMETHING ABOUT BOXING'S DIRTY BUSINESS IN ILLINOIS, ESPECIALLY CHICAGO!
GEORGE J. RIESTER
HOW DO THEY DO IT?
I am quite bewildered by the decision of the Basilio-Saxton fight. I have been a weekly reader of SI since the first issue. SI writes the facts about the fight game, and that's what I and John Q. Public want to read. This decision was downright rotten. First it was the Gavilan-Saxton fight, which Saxton won on another questionable decision: what are they going to do now, give Basilio the run-around like Gavilan when he lost to Saxton?
How in heaven's name can a fellow win a fight backing up, occasionally flicking a left jab and holding on for dear life? How can a man like Basilio, who forces the fight and throws body punches continually and on top of that is the champion of the world, be subjected to this injustice?
CARL J. RENDA
THIRD MAN IN
I just concluded watching the esteemed John Saxton steal the welterweight crown again. The TV announcer made much ado about Chicago being a jinx to Basilio, but he could have been more accurate by saying it was not Chicago but the so-called judges and the third man in the ring who are the jinx.
How can boxing ever thrive as long as three (I can think of many descriptive words) incompetent morons are allowed to determine who is the better man?
HARLAN H. CALDWELL
Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Blinky Palermo made the Boston Brink's robbery look like a penny-ante game. In any other city in the world Saxton's grandmother could have beat him that night.
Pro wrestling is an exhibition with phony victories and they admit it, but the way boxing is now they might as well nominate Marshal Tito and Khrushchev for the job of commissioners.
AND STILL CHAMPION
After you published all the letters complaining about the Elorde-Saddler fight (19TH HOLE, Feb. 6), I had hoped to see some improvement in the game. The decision giving Saxton the welterweight title over Basilio was an outright robbery. I hereby propose that we judge future fights with an applause meter. Let the fans themselves, by a show of applause, determine the winner of a fight. In my book, Basilio is still champ regardless of what two judges and one referee thought.
JOE LA MONICA
We have just watched the welterweight title change hands and have decided not to watch TV fights any more. We are sick and tired of watching a man run for 10 or 15 rounds, tap now and then with a jab and end up the winner.
You have fine coverage of sports and from now on we shall get our fight results from SI. Thanks for the great coverage of the Winter Olympics and the fine wildlife stories from time to time.
JOHN C. MORRELL
THE TRIUMPH OF MAN
My heartiest congratulations on your superb coverage of the competition between Matadors Luis Miguel Dominguin and César Girón (SI, March 12). Although I have never witnessed a bullfight, I was completely thrilled by this eyewitness account and the great photography by Mark Kauffman. It was almost as if I were among the thousands of cheering spectators that jammed the plaza at Maracay. To me, the triumph of man over an enraged beast is utterly fascinating, although some would consider this sport a bit gruesome.
ALLAN R. ZIRLIN
Two ears and the bull's tail to Rafael Delgado Lozano for his delightful reporting of the world's two greatest matadors.
SI, in presenting sports coverage such as this, is bound to grow in stature and circulation.
L. W. FLYNN
Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
HIGH COST OF BULLFIGHTING
Rafael Delgado Lozano in Mano a Mano states that the plaza at Maracay seats 8,000 and also says that the plaza charged $13 for the poorest seats and $75 for the best, since they had to guarantee each matador $30,000.
Our roommate from Mexico feels that these prices are too high, and it would be impossible for the plaza to be filled at these prices.
This matter has developed into quite an international dispute between myself and my roommates and I would really appreciate having this thing settled. How much money was poured into the coffers of the Maracay Plaza that day?
We all thoroughly enjoyed the article, even our Mexican roommate, and feel that it is typical of the far-reaching, broad and tremendous sports coverage found only in SI.
New Haven, Conn.
•General admission was listed as $13 for the sunny side of the plaza and $18 for the shady side, but some front-row seats changed hands at $75. Total gate receipts came to $185,000, averaging $23 a seat.—ED.
A PRO BY ANY OTHER NAME
In reference to suggestions for a name for lady golf pros (19th HOLE, March 12), I nominate "proette."
My choice would be "linklassie" or "link-maid," as being fairly euphonious and with a good old Scotch flavor.
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Why not just "golf bags"?
ROGER S. HEWLETT
Annie Smith Peck was not the first woman to scale the Matterhorn by any means (YESTERDAY, Feb. 6). The first was Miss Lucy Walker, who, with her father, Frank Walker, and three guides, accomplished the first feminine ascent on the 21st-22nd of July, 1871, 24 years before Mrs. Peck.
Annie Peck was a great climber but not even the first American lady on the Matter-horn. Miss Meta Claudia Brevoort (1825-76), an American, made the traverse of the Matterhorn Sept. 4-5, 1871, with her nephew, W. Coolidge, and three guides: Christian and Ulrich Aimer and Nicholas Knubel. As you may have heard by now, England's Miss Walker was there even before Miss Brevoort, some six weeks earlier, to be exact.
•Miss Brevoort (see cut) was indeed the first American woman to climb the Matterhorn (ascent #24) and Miss Walker (ascent #19) the first ever, a feat which inspired Punch to declaim in its August 26, 1871 issue:
A Lady has clomb to the Matterhorn's summit,
Which almost like a Monument points to the sky.
Steep not very much less than the string of a plummet
Suspended, which nothing can scale but a fly.
This lady has likewise ascended the Weiss-horn,
And what's a great deal more, descended it too,
Feet foremost; which, seeing it might be named Icehorn,
So slippery 'tis, no small thing is to do.
No glacier could baffle, no precipice balk her,
No peak rise above her, however sublime.
Give three times three cheers for intrepid Miss Walker.
I say, my boys, doesn't she know how to climb!—ED.
CHANGE OF SEASON
I enjoyed the stories on the opening of baseball's spring training (SI, March 5), but I think Frank Lane, the Cardinals general manager, is a bit too optimistic for 1956. If the Cardinals finish fourth or fifth they'll do well. Of course baseball being what it is, Lane's prediction of third place is possible.
While I am not a basketball fan, I think the State University of Iowa teams of this season and last have done very well. I hope sometime you'll do a story on them and their coach Bucky O'Connor....
F. J. MILLER
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
•Coach Frank (Bucky) O'Connor's State University of Iowa basketball team has indeed done well this season following a shaky start. After losing five of their first eight games, Iowa built up a 14-game winning streak and won their second straight Big Ten title and a place in the NCAA tournament (It's Dayton and the Dons, SI, March 19). Some say O'Connor's smooth-working men jump and leap so well because Bucky has them lift weights to improve their muscle tone.—ED.
THE GIANT, ECONOMY SIZE
As a chemical engineer and former member of the Cornell varsity crew, I must disagree with the closing statements of "Working Up a Lather" (E & D, March 12). In spite of any other opinion, students have failed to improve the original soapsuds in the rowing-tank trick initiated at Cornell.
This so-called prank was the result of careful scientific and economic studies. First, an excellent suds-forming agent had to be found which would perform well in the antiquated and now-unused still-water rowing tank at Cornell. Second, because of the financial embarrassment of the responsible party, it had to be cheap. The product finally chosen cost only 17¢ certainly less than any commercial liquid detergent. It was dissolved in one gallon of hot water, and the solution was gently poured into the tank. The results were astounding! Ask Coach Loren Schoel if he has ever seen "richer, longer-lasting suds" in such antiquated equipment.
May I suggest to the next coach confronted with a foamy problem that he purchase a small bottle of Dow Coming's silicone anti-foaming agent. I am certain that the results will be equally spectacular and certainly much easier and cheaper than bailing out the rowing tanks.
WILLIAM C. JOHNSON
Fort Lee, Va.
WHERE IS CHARLIE PURTLE?
I would like very much to know what happened to Charlie Purtle, that pitcher you were talking about so much in It Happens Every Spring (SI, March 5). Did he stick it out through spring training or was he sent back to Ardmore?
Incidentally, those color photos by Mark Kauffman were terrific.
LEWIS MACADAMS JR.
•Charlie Purtle is doing fine. He has been assigned to the Daytona Beach training camp for high minor league prospects and will be given his final team assignment at the end of the month.—ED.
SI's March 5 HOTBOX asked: "What five players would you nominate for the national tennis hall of fame? Out of 11 people who gave answers only one person nominated Pancho Gonzales, who is and has been for some time the undisputed champion of the world....
Here are just a few of the reasons why I believe Gonzales should be ranked in the top five, if not FIRST. Pancho was one of the youngest players ever to win the U.S. Nationals. He was the youngest player ever to turn pro for the "big money" and go on a world-wide tour. He turned professional long before he reached his peak, because of lack of money. Since the spotlight is mostly on amateur tennis, Pancho was neglected, and most everyone failed to see his real greatness.
Pancho turned pro when competition was great; in reaching the top he had to defeat such stars as Frank Sedgman of Australia, Pancho Segura of South America, and the Americans Trabert, Budge, Riggs, Kovacs, Kramer, who incidentally was nominated by seven of the 11 people.
BRUCE A. HAUG
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Congratulations! Your article and color photographs of Old Goldensides, Mr. Onassis' yacht, was the first proof in pictures of the much-talked-about yacht (SI, Feb. 27). You stole the thunder from all the yachting magazines.
You seem to stay one step ahead of everybody.
In Feb. 27 SCOREBOARD Referee Frank Udvari is pictured climbing out of the way of action in an NHL game which the caption states was played in New York. The Ranger player in this picture is wearing a dark traveling uniform, therefore the game could not have been at New York. The other player looks as if he is wearing a Chicago white home uniform. Am I right?
B. D. BARKER
Chestnut Hill, Mass.
•Wrong, that game was played in New York. The National Hockey League in midseason decided to make traveling uniforms white and home uniforms colored.—ED.