So "it won't happen that way" (Better Not Sell the Old Man Short, Sept. 29)? It's about time that someone proved Muhammad Ali is a mere mortal—an earthling, if you will. Ali's only remaining boxing weapon is his lightning-quick tongue, which can convince us the impossible is possible. But, as Larry Holmes demonstrated, one does not fight with one's tongue, so now all that's left for The Mouth is to eat crow. It's time the boxing world gave Holmes his due. All hail Holmes!
We learned a lesson on Oct. 2: that even The Greatest, earthling or not, cannot win the fight against time. But it's a shame the lesson had to be learned in the way it was.
It's interesting to see the vultures swoop in for the kill after the Ali-Holmes fight. They malign Ali for not going out a winner and question his sanity for pursuing a miracle fourth title. Who can blame Ali? These same people had the same doubts before his bouts with George Foreman in 1974 and Leon Spinks in 1978.
The victory by Holmes does not lower the stature of Ali. Holmes is a great fighter. Ali, in his prime, was the greatest boxer. This final fight simply adds to the Ali legend: at the age of 38, after being out of the ring for two years, he lasted 10 rounds with Holmes. How many younger contenders can make the same claim?
JOSEPH F. LENIUS
October 19, 1980
Pat Putnam's preview of the Holmes-Ali bout was very well done. Equally impressive were the accompanying illustrations by Bart Forbes. What was uncanny was that the AP photos published in my local paper the morning after the bout looked exactly, detail for detail, like Forbes' paintings—done weeks before the fight!
West Hartford, Conn.
I predict that there will soon be a sports musical comedy on Broadway called Damn Cosmos with a hit song that goes "Whatever Giorgio wants, Giorgio gets" (The Joint Was Jumping, Sept. 29).
Van Nuys, Calif.
If 5,000 Cosmos fans can outshout "45,000 other spectators who were inclined, clearly, to root for the Strikers," that has to tell you something about the New Yorsey fans.
Douglas S. Looney's story on Colorado Football Coach Chuck Fairbanks (There Ain't No More Gold in Them Thar Hills, Oct. 6) was ill-timed and in poor taste. Kicking a decent man when he is down is not in the sporting tradition. To dwell on Fairbanks' personality and spending habits is to miss the whole point of the Colorado problem. You can't beat ordinary competition, much less UCLA, Nebraska and Oklahoma, with freshmen and sophomores. And in recruiting, you can't entice promising athletes to choose your school without quality facilities.
Fairbanks has proved he's a winner. He should not be made the scapegoat for the devastation left by his predecessors. What he needs is time to build his own program. What he didn't need was a hatchet job by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
Coral Gables, Fla.
So the Title IX-mandated expenditures on women's athletics are greatly responsible for Athletic Director Eddie Crowder's plight at the University of Colorado? Crowder, tacitly or otherwise, approves the expenditure of some $670,000 for dressing-room remodeling and the renovation of Chuck Fairbanks' microwave-equipped office, and then moans about the $500,000 it took to run the entire women's athletic program for a year.
Crowder deserves Fairbanks' ego; Fairbanks deserves his losing football team; and the Flatirons Club deserves them both for financing and idolizing their kind. Thanks to Douglas S. Looney for his incisive article.
(MR.) LEE GREEN
In the name of college students everywhere, I pray that administrators will reassess the position of sports on their campuses and not allow high rollers, be they coaches or alumni, to dictate campus policy.
As for remedies for the nightmare in Boulder, I suggest that University of Colorado President Arnold Weber begin negotiations with the major networks to place the Colorado fiasco on TV as a soap. Assuming a lucrative contract and program residuals, the soap might net a million or so. Then the Buffs—and the TV season—could be saved.
THE JENKINS CASE
I agree with your criticism of Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn for his suspension of Ferguson Jenkins when Jenkins has only been accused, not convicted, of a crime (SCORECARD, Sept. 22). I believe, however, that you go too far when you suggest that Jenkins should not be fined or suspended by the commissioner should he be found guilty. A professional, whether he's an athlete, a lawyer or a whatever, not only has the same responsibility all citizens have to obey the law, but he also has a duty to protect the good name of his profession. Following SI's reasoning, Congressmen convicted of crimes should not be expelled from Congress.
I have no objection to Jenkins' having been allowed to play out the season, but if he's convicted, I see nothing wrong with his being suspended from the game.
JACKSON L. BARWICK JR.
Thanks for Ray Kennedy's thoroughly enjoyable portrait of Joe Theismann (A Mouth That Roars, Oct. 6). He was the best college quarterback I've ever seen. Give him half the supporting cast some NFL quarterbacks have, and he'd find a way to win one of those elusive Super Bowl rings. But ring or no ring, Theismann is an inspiration—and obviously a winner.
The only way Joe Theismann will be able to satisfy his desire to have a Super Bowl ring will be to remove one from former Steeler Mike Kruczek's locker while Kruczek is taking a shower.
Herb Lindsay certainly is a terrific runner (Herb Lindsay Comes On Strong, Sept. 29). I should know: I've seen the back of his shirt many times ahead of me at the finish line.
However, to set the record straight, he's not, as you wrote, the U.S. record holder at 15 kilometers. Last February I won the Gasparilla Distance Classic 15-km. road race in Tampa in 43:40, which is recognized as the American best. And that's 10 seconds faster than Lindsay has run.
SNOWSHOES AND TRAMPOLINES
Regarding your article on Howard Head and the Prince tennis racket (Howard Head Says, "I'm Giving Up the Thing World," Sept. 29), you mention an even larger racket developed by an Ohioan named Tad Weed. I have played against Tad and his partner, both of whom used the Weed Killer, and it's like playing against two trampolines.
This is the same Tad Weed who, at 5'5" and 145 pounds, kicked extra points and field goals for Ohio State from 1952 to '54. In 1955 he kicked three field goals as the College All-Stars defeated the Cleveland Browns 30-27, and he was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers for one season. He certainly was one of the smallest players—if not the smallest player—ever in the NFL.
Perhaps Weed should consider changing the name of his racket to the Giant Killer.
While I have no doubt that the oversized racket improves a player's game, I find the immediate success of this product to be disgusting. Rather than take the time and sweat to learn to play the game with a conventional racket, lazy, fat Americans prefer a less strenuous route to tennis success.
For those who are getting along in years or who are saddled with a malady that makes it difficult to play without the benefit of the Prince's swollen sweet spot, Howard Head's innovation may be a good thing. However, I would feel embarrassed for anyone else who stepped onto the court wielding the Prince "snowshoe" instead of a tennis racket.
Howard Head is the embodiment of the James Joyce statement that the artist is "a priest of eternal imagination."
MIKE EASLER KNOWS
After your Sept. 15 SCORECARD item appeared noting the record number (16) of "you knows" uttered by the Pirates' Mike Easler during a 29-second conversation, Easler recorded an interview for New York's SportsPhone that was played a few weeks ago. In approximately 30 seconds there was not one "you know." Congratulations, Mike!
LEWIS B. INSLER
White Plains, N.Y.
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