ALI VS. THE LION
As usual, your coverage of the greatest boxer ever was perfect (One-Nighter in San Juan, March 1). My room is filled with SI covers of Muhammad Ali, especially those showing him against Frazier, Foreman and, now, Jean-Pierre Coopman.
I have never been able to understand why, when George Foreman fought five boxers in Toronto (winning all five), it was called a circus act, or when he fought King Roman and knocked him out in the first round, he was said to be fighting someone below his class, or when he got up after being knocked down twice by Ron Lyle and knocked him out, it was described as a slugfest.
Why isn't Muhammad Ali said to be fighting below his class or putting on a clown act? Ali wants to give Jimmy Young a chance at the title. Who's Young? Young fought King Roman. Ali is making a joke of what a boxing match ought to be.
MRS. ROBERT BOREM
I must commend Muhammad Ali for bringing heavyweight boxing back to home TV, even if it was only a "stay in shape" fight. I find it interesting that the champion has fought twice as many bouts during his reign as any of the top three challengers. As for Ali losing to Norton or Foreman, the only things that can defeat Muhammad are himself and age. Here's to the greatest fighter of all time.
Rolling Meadows, Ill.
The major-leaguers' softball game (At the Big League Picnic It Was Clinkers to Errors to Not a Chance, March 1) was all in fun and for a good cause, but Luis Tiant must have written the base-running rules if Rick Manning's home run knocked in Brooks Robinson, who is pictured trailing Manning across the plate.
North Providence, R.I.
I give up. How could Rick Manning hit a home run, knocking in Brooks Robinson, and then have Robinson follow him across home plate? I knew Brooks was slow and Rick was fast, but this is ridiculous.
•The only thing Robinson followed was tradition by awaiting Manning at the plate, congratulating him on his homer and then allowing him to lead the way to the bench for more handshakes.—ED.
I have two comments: 1) The way things are now, the entire major league season may go much as that afternoon in Boca Raton did; and 2) You should receive the prize for the longest title for the shortest article.
AGE OF AQUARISTS
I was dismayed and upset to find the article on saltwater aquariums (Providing Local Color, March 1) by Rick Telander in your magazine. The fact that the ocean is polluted does not make it all right to capture tropical fish for pleasure and profit. Two wrongs still do not make a right.
And how astute to say, "Captured fish go where they are wanted." Of course they do. But losses are incalculable, although in this case SI can report that 50% of the tropical fish die during long-distance transport. The idea of using an aquarium of tropical fish as an "icebreaker" in a singles bar or as a room divider in a clever bachelor's apartment really needs no comment. It is, however, a shameful reflection on man and his disregard for his natural surroundings.
As for the concluding comment that a fish can do worse than brighten someone's dentist visit, it could likewise be said that a bear can do worse than end up as a rug, a whale can do worse than end up a cosmetic.
Why doesn't man in all his zeal for tropical fish invest his time and money in scuba diving and snorkeling, so he can see fish in their natural environs and then swim away, leaving them for future generations?
CYNTHIA WARD HINRICHSEN
I suggest that Rick Telander be sentenced to two weeks inside a saltwater aquarium or two weeks of constant drilling in a dentist's office. In his last Calypso Log, the newsletter of the Cousteau Society, Captain Cousteau cites the increasing destruction of coral reef's and the difficulties involved in attempting to keep saltwater animals alive outside of their natural environment. He makes the excellent suggestion that aquarium fanciers acquire only those species that can be bred in captivity.
PETER K. MEYER
Arguments about the relative merits of keeping freshwater versus saltwater fish are nonproductive at best, but it is unfortunate that SI would say, "With a mixing bowl, two glasses of water and a 69¢ goldfish you can have a freshwater aquarium." With those components, what you would have is a mixing bowl, two glasses of water and a goldfish with a life expectancy of two or three days.
Except for the preparation of synthetic seawater, the equipment, the problems, the satisfactions and, incidentally, the costs involved in maintaining fresh-and saltwater aquariums are quite similar.
W. E. GREIG
A six-page article on fish and another nine pages on possums (His Time Has Come, March 1)? Is this a once-a-year deviation or is it what I am to expect in future issues?
NORMAN L. EDICK
Your March 1 issue was the best in a long time. It had something for everyone.
Please tell Harvey Nathan, who wrote (March 1) about SI's "giant error," that he made an error. Italy's Piero Gros won the slalom in the Olympics, true, but it was Heini Hemmi, not "Hemmi Heini," who won the giant slalom.
Princeton Junction, N.J.
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