Lots of athletes trash-talk, but Ali went beyond trash-talking.
MICHAEL SHARPE, NASHVILLE
I have idolized Muhammad Ali since the fights in the early 1960s, and my respect and admiration for him has not diminished. Anyone who saw the first Ali-Joe Frazier bout ('The Fight's Over, Joe,' Sept. 30) will attest to the brutality and fire of the match. I can still hear Ali's grunts and the whistle of Frazier's left hook.
JIM PERTIERRA, Cohoes, N.Y.
The person responsible for Joe Frazier's exclusion from the pantheon of great heavyweight champions is not Muhammad Ali but George Foreman. In his pre-Big Mac days, Foreman twice knocked out Frazier in early rounds. Those defeats, coming as they did in the prime of his career, preclude Frazier from claiming that he was anything more than the good heavyweight champion that he was.
DAVID H. COFFMAN, Bethesda, Md.
As tough as Frazier was as a boxer, I find it sad that he cannot find the strength to forgive Ali.
MICHAEL W. WAITE, Singapore
On March 8, 1971, my mother picked me up at school and told me that my father had just gotten tickets to that night's bout between Joe Frazier, my favorite fighter, and Muhammad Ali. Then my father took a client instead of me! Now, if I can forgive my dad, Frazier can forgive Ali. What do you say, Joe?
MICHAEL KUN, Atlanta
William Nack's piece made me wonder about a November 1994 encounter between the two old foes at the grand opening of the Muhammad Ali Rotisserie Chicken here. Although I missed their initial greeting, I later saw the two men sitting elbow to elbow, greeting fans. Ali looked dazed; Frazier couldn't stop smiling as he signed autographs and shook hands. If there was hatred between them, it was well concealed that day.
KEVIN MCMANUS, Silver Spring, Md.
Frazier owes Ali no sympathy. After all, Ali showed no sympathy when labeling Frazier an Uncle Tom, dumb and ignorant.
JIM MURRAY, Suffern, N.Y.
I share Frazier's contempt of Ali. Just because Ali now faces a debilitating disease is no reason to turn him into a hero. Great fighter? Absolutely. Probably the best ever. American hero? Not on your life.
STEVE WEST, Amarillo, Texas
Before each of their three fights, Ali assailed Frazier with scornful slurs that were malicious, degrading and racist. He got away with it for years on the pretense that he was trying to sell tickets. None of the excitement of their fights would have been lost if Ali had not preceded them with inexcusable tirades against Frazier. Frazier is bitter, and some of his remarks concerning Ali's current condition do cross the line, but this man was humiliated in front of the entire planet by one loud-mouthed braggart.
RICHARD THOMASON, Elgin, Okla.
It's about time someone wrote an article about Buffalo Bills linebacker Chris Spielman that dealt with more than his bulging muscles (Tough Love, Sept. 30). America needs role models like Spielman, who are motivated by success and can think for themselves. Austin Murphy reveals Spielman as a family man who is a leader both on and off the field.
CLARANCE EVAN DALE SANTOS