Pat Putnam's account of the Ali-Spinks fight (One More Time to the Top, Sept. 25) left me quite disappointed. I did not view the fight as a sloppy exhibition by an old ex-champion. What I witnessed on Sept. 15 was a courageous performance by the best boxer of this—or any—era. The 36-year-old Ali dug deep into his admittedly dwindling resources and came up with enough firepower to make his proclamation that he is "the greatest" hold true. Surely more attention should have been focused on Ali. Instead, Putnam chose to center his article on a bewildered Leon Spinks roaming the bars of New Orleans.
"Sloppy" isn't the word. This so-called fight between two clowns was the worst exhibition of the sport I have ever seen. The boxing profession has fallen to a new low.
N. J. COTTNER
Canal Winchester, Ohio
Maybe Ali will finally decide to hang up his gloves for good. He has made watching a boxing match as boring as watching a chess match. Please, Ali, leave in your moment of glory. Make this your last fight.
Congratulations for having had the sensitivity to show some sympathy for the troubled young gladiator, Leon Spinks. When a kid such as Spinks can come out of a ghetto to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps, win an Olympic gold medal, take care of his family and dethrone a living legend to earn—even if for only a short time—the heavyweight championship of the world, he deserves a lot more than to be portrayed by the media as a bumbling, bungling bad guy.
WILLIAM E. CARSLEY
October 8, 1978
It appears as though everyone thinks Muhammad Ali has won the world heavyweight championship for an unprecedented third time. With all due respect to Ali, he has, in fact, won the championship only 2½ times. Everyone seems to have forgotten that Larry Holmes has a 50% claim to the title. Ali has to defeat Holmes in order to become the first man to win the crown three times.
Grove City, Pa.
While I don't know exactly how long Pat Putnam has been covering boxing, it seems to me that he is unqualified to state, as he did in his preview of the fight (The Old Lion Eyes Leon, Sept. 11), that Muhammad Ali at 25 would have turned John L. Sullivan "inside out." Putnam would have to be more than 100 years old to have seen Sullivan in his prime in the 1880s. Putnam should confine himself to rating boxers whom he has seen and not just read about.
Morally it is hard to understand. On the one hand, Edy Williams' striptease in the ring in New Orleans evoked "righteous indignation" from ABC, and happily, according to SI (Blood, Sweat and Cheers, Sept. 25), the incident "was not inflicted upon the network's viewers."
On the other hand, the Galindez-Rossman fight was shown on TV. This fight ended with former champion Galindez' "forehead...soft and pulpy" from the beating he took; with a "rivulet of blood" pouring from a cut on his eye, and with Galindez completely dazed. Rossman was praised for his skill.
Why is it that ABC refused to show a "striking-looking" woman partially undressed, when even my local newspaper and SI and other publications had pictures for all to see? For my part, I would rather have been "inflicted" with the Lady in Red on TV than watch the human slaughter that followed.
DONALD D. JACOBS, V.M.D.
I admit to having been curious when Howard Cosell, while doing the preliminaries to the Ali-Spinks fight, abruptly announced that a disgusting event was taking place in the ring. Nonetheless, I applaud Cosell and ABC for taking the stand that by ignoring such exhibitionists they will discourage others in the future. Bruce Newman, however, lacked that same good judgment, and the infamous Lady in Red had the last laugh when he played right into her hands.
THE LIONS' ROAR
The victory by Penn State over Woody Hayes and his Buckeyes (Penn State States Its Case, Sept. 25) should come as no surprise to the staff or readers of SI. I'm not referring to the preseason polls, most of which listed the Nittany Lions ahead of Ohio State. I am referring to the article done by SI in the spring of 1976 on Joe Paterno and his successful recruiting year (Say "Cheese," Mom and Pop, March 15, 1976). Photographs of Bruce Clark, Matt Suhey and Mike Guman, among others, accompanied that article. These three young men were major factors in the 19-0 win over Ohio State. Here's a chance to blow your horn, SI, but don't blow our chances. Keep us off the cover.
Reading your article, one would think the score was Penn State 56, Ohio State 0. Granted, the Buckeyes were skunked, but they did gain 336 yards. The Buckeye defense made more than a token appearance to hold the Nittany Lions to 19 points in the face of eight Ohio State turnovers. A score of 19-0 hardly qualifies as a "rout."
John Underwood may have blown a fast whistle on Bob Higgins, whom he identified only as one of Penn State's former coaches and the grandfather of Fullback Matt Suhey. Higgins also played for Penn State and was chosen by Walter Camp as a first-team end in his 1919 All-America selections. Should Suhey win All-America recognition we would then have grandfather, father (former Penn State Guard Steve Suhey) and son in All-America succession.
I have never read an article that amused' me more than Larry Keith's Seeing Ain't Believing (Sept. 25). I hope all Billy Martin lovers will read it and finally come to the realization that he—not Reggie or Thurman or George—was the problem with the Yankees.
Larry Keith's open letter to Billy Martin was one of the most distasteful beanballs I have ever seen a sportswriter throw. How quickly one forgets that Billy not only reintroduced the word "pride" into the Yankee vocabulary, but also drove the team from mediocrity to the world championship during his brief tenure. While Bob Lemon may have had a hand in guiding the Yankees to where they are today, it was Martin who made them what they are today.
GARY A. ADAMS
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