I'm an avid boxing fan, but I'm sorry that men have to earn money by stepping into the ring and risking their lives just to please thousands of people, including me. That feeling was intensified by the Ray Mancini-Duk Koo Kim fight (Then All the Joy Turned to Sorrow, Nov. 22).
The death of Duk Koo Kim makes it clear that boxing should adopt headgear and more heavily padded gloves.
Willow Street, Pa.
Why don't we require headgear and heavier gloves in boxing? Dulled foils and masks take nothing away from fencing. The art of boxing doesn't need physical destruction to be entertaining.
That Duk Koo Kim lost his life in the 14th round and that Alexis Arguello could have, too, in his fight with Aaron Pryor the night before, leads me to conclude that 10 rounds should be the maximum length of any bout. Research into deaths in the professional ring—those of Ernie Schaaf [who collapsed in the 13th round while fighting Primo Camera] and Benny Paret [who was knocked out in the 12th by Emile Griffith] come to mind—might support my conclusion. In any case, the defensive ability of boxers obviously diminishes in the later rounds of a long fight. The boxing world should consider this reform now.
December 6, 1982
I was shocked by what I observed on my television in the aftermath of the Ray Mancini-Duk Koo Kim fight. The tragic death of Kim left me gasping and trying to justify the "sport" of boxing.
Injuries are part of many sports. Even in such limited-contact ones as skiing and baseball, serious injuries—and, in isolated cases, death—are unfortunate elements of the game. However, these sports have other objectives: to ski faster, to score more runs. The implicit objective in boxing is to injure the opponent.
Thank you and Ralph Wiley for a candid article describing the terrible loss that resulted from the Mancini-Kim bout. I think that the time has come for the fans and those involved in the promotion and administration of boxing to take a deep look inside themselves and question whether the positive aspects of boxing outweigh the negative. In my view, the answer is clearly no.
ROBERT J. LURIE
Sugar Ray Leonard has a good head on his shoulders. I'm glad he decided to keep it that way by retiring.
Kansas City, Mo.
Boxing isn't a sport, it's legalized violence. There is no such thing as civilized fighting, just as there are no good wars. Suspend boxing? No. Outlaw it!
MARIE R. WATSON, R.N.
I was shocked and appalled by your cover. Why depict something such as this? The death of Duk Koo Kim was tragic enough without your graphically portraying the final blow on the cover of a national magazine. In this instance, I feel that you have shown a lack of good judgment, a lack of common decency and a disrespect for human dignity.
GLENN F. HURST
Judging by your Nov. 15 and 22 covers, kids interested in pugilism could very well come to the conclusion that there's a 50-50 chance of ending up a rich, smart, lucky Sugar Ray Leonard or a poor, battered, dead Duk Koo Kim. During the Vietnam war, television took the glamour and glory out of war for a generation of kids. Maybe you are doing the same for boxing now.
State College, Pa.
IN PRYOR'S CORNER
Congratulations on Pat Putnam's article about Aaron Pryor (It Was a Pryor Engagement, Nov. 22). Never in my life have I witnessed a fighter like him. He's devastating, and he has great endurance. His style makes every one of his fights enjoyable to watch, and, in my opinion, he's the best champion in any division today. It really is time Pryor got some respect.
In his article (All the Way on Every Play, Nov. 22), John Papanek writes glowingly about Anthony Carter breaking the University of Michigan career scoring record in football with 244 points. The old record of 237 points had stood for 42 years and was set by "the sainted" Tom Harmon. Papanek further states, "One can only wonder what kind of numbers Carter would have amassed had he been given the opportunity to play on a team with a passer like Stanford's John Elway."
Granted. However, I've been fortunate enough to have seen both Harmon and Carter play football for Michigan. I submit that one can only wonder what kind of numbers Harmon would have amassed had he been given the opportunity to play varsity football for Michigan for four seasons, like Carter, instead of the three seasons that were permitted in his era. Do you really believe Carter would have broken a Harmon four-year record?
What's Carter's highest total for any three of the four seasons he played?
ROBERT E. GOWDY, D.D.S.
•Counting the past three seasons, 196. Carter scored 48 of his Michigan-record 244 points in 1979, 84 of them in 1980, 56 in 1981 and 56 in 1982.—ED.
It's disappointing that a college senior can no better articulate his incredible football acrobatics than to say, "Both my feets be off the ground." Anthony Carter is, of course, majoring in pre-professional football at Michigan, and anyone lucky enough to have seen him perform will attest that he richly deserves straight A + s in that department, academic qualifications notwithstanding.
I don't think anyone will be able to reverse the trend toward professionalism in big-time college athletics. But isn't it time that the beneficiary of the football farm system, the wealthy NFL, was required to help underwrite the cost of the college program? Make the NFL pay for its farm system by contributing a significant fixed percentage of its bloated television revenue to collegiate football.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
I can't believe that Anthony Carter might be drafted as late as the second round, as you claim is possible. But if he is, I for one would love to see a John Elway-Anthony Carter passing combination in Baltimore next year (surely the lowly Colts will end up with the No. 1 pick).
And assuming it takes the young and inexperienced Baltimore team one more year to crawl out of the cellar, you can add Herschel Walker as its next No. 1 pick. Think of it, Elway, Carter and Walker—only Ed Garvey would be able to slow the Colts down.
I was pleased to see the mention of late hits in your article It Was a Herschel Walkover (Nov. 15). I've had the opportunity to watch Georgia play in two recent nationally televised games, and no wonder Walker has taken to wearing a lower-back buckler for protection. I am not a football official and wouldn't pretend to be able to have the judgment required to call a late hit on the field of play; too many variables are involved. However, determining a late hit across the end-zone line or out of bounds is much easier for a fan. In the games I saw. Walker was subjected to multiple infractions of the latter sort, with no flags thrown.
The game of football and the skills of this young man are too valuable to allow them to be damaged by uncontrolled play. Sports are important in the fabric of our society for teaching individuals the constructive use of controlled aggression. When aggression in sports is allowed to become uncontrolled, everyone suffers.
Thanks to William Taaffe for a fine article on America's No. 1 sports talk-show host, Pete Franklin (TV/RADIO, Nov. 22). I've listened to Pete's Sportsline for about six years. I don't always agree with him—I'm a Steeler fan, and Pete is always putting the team and the city of Pittsburgh down—but I'm glad I live in America, where I'm free to cheer for any team I want and to listen to Pete five hours a night, five nights a week.
Branchland, W. Va.
William Taaffe must never have listened to Sports Huddle, a Sunday-night sports talk show on WHDH in Boston (See No Evil, Hear No Evil...Ha!, Sept. 4, 1972). Eddie Andelman, Mark Witkin and Jim McCarthy are everything Pete Franklin is, and more. Pete may hit his red disconnect button with a Boom! when a loser calls, but on Sports Huddle you'd hear tick-tick-tick, Boom! To top things off, Andelman & Co. are three times more insulting. Just ask former Red Sox Manager Don Zimmer. Pete might be great, but no one can match the Huddlers.
RICHARD M. ROGERS
West Dennis, Mass.
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