The article on the Alan Minter-Marvin Hagler fight, which begins on page 27, is Clive Gammon's fourth piece in our three most recent issues. The stories, on fishing, ballooning (sort of), soccer and boxing, took him from our New York offices to Guatemala, Scotland, Washington, D.C. and England, respectively. He allowed us to snap the accompanying picture of him when he stopped briefly in the Big Apple en route from the Soccer Bowl in our nation's capital to London for the fight, but only with the understanding that we not interrupt his check writing—"so Con Ed and Ma Bell don't go bust in my absence."
At that, his pace was leisurely compared to a couple of last year's leaps—from the NASCAR 500 in Daytona, Fla. to Limerick, Ireland for a story about a gambler, and from the Preakness in Baltimore to the soccer World Cup in Bern, Switzerland.
Gammon long ago touched down on all the continents but Antarctica, and he can't even recall all the sports he has covered—everything, seemingly, from the world curling championships to cross-Channel swims and soccer World Cups to "Jean-Claude Killy's debut as a movie star." Obviously his last four pieces in SI are just another manifestation of his versatility.
"It may seem strange," Gammon says, "both to relish the emotions and howling crowds of a major spectator event like the Kentucky Derby and to delight in the calm and quiet of a great river sliding through the Costa Rican rain forest. But there's no conflict for me. I've lived with both sorts of fever since I was small. I still recall the night in 1937 when, like all the other kids in Wales, I was allowed to stay up into the small hours to listen to the radio broadcast of our hero, Tommy Farr, fighting Joe Louis for the heavyweight title. At much the same time, I was being introduced by my grandfather to the art of surf casting, on any beach we could reach by bus on a Sunday. That became a fever, also."
October 5, 1980
But then, fishing with Gammon can be an action-packed pastime. "Because I strayed too near their respective coasts, I've been boarded by three different navies—the Egyptians in the Red Sea, the Spanish off Gibraltar and the British off Northern Ireland," says Gammon. "They always stopped short of hostilities, but I wasn't so sure the time an Argentine gunboat came after me on the Paranà River. It turned out to be lost.
"But it's gotten harder and harder to find genuine wilderness," Gammon adds. "There's now a hotel in the foothills of Everest. When a friend and I went to Finnish Lapland, we found the lakes had been fished out. I understand some of the world's best fishing now is in Outer Mongolia, but every time I go to the Mongolian Embassy in London to ask for a visa, the officials there tell me, 'Write to Ulan Bator.' I write, but I never get a reply."
Meanwhile, back in Gammon's Manhattan apartment are brain coral from Australia's Great Barrier Reef, seed-pods from Costa Rica, the "9" from the jersey of legendary Welsh scrum half Gareth Edwards—all sorts of memorabilia that would remind Gammon of where he has been, if he weren't already on his way somewhere else.