LEONARD OR HAGLER?
My heartfelt thanks to Hugh McIlvanney (POINT AFTER, April 20). His observations regarding the Leonard-Hagler "fight" matched mine and succinctly summed up my feelings of outrage, injustice and bitterness since the fight. This fight should be used as a litmus test to judge the level of sophistication of boxing fans. Did they see through Leonard's illusion to Hagler's more powerful blows in Rounds 5 to 12, or were they moved by Leonard's histrionics and quick, but often inaccurate, powder-puff "punching"? Take heart, Marvelous Marvin, knowledgeable boxing fans realize the truth.
For days after watching the replay, I pondered how Sugar Ray had conned the world. McIlvanney hit the nail on the head. It took public relations genius, consummate tactical skill and a willing boxing world for Leonard to successfully enact his "illusion of victory." He deserves credit for creating the scenario that cost Hagler his crown. What he did not do, however, is beat Hagler. Marvelous Marvin is still the champ, 116-114 on my card.
The challenger must beat the champion to take his title, not merely survive the encounter. Leonard hypnotized the judges and many who watched the fight, but subsequent viewings would convince most that Hagler was a clear winner. My heart goes out to the true champion.
The only illusion was McIlvanney's. The whole world saw Leonard box for 12 rounds and do a fine job of it. Now McIlvanney is trying to convince us that we didn't really see what we saw.
TROY R. MILLIKAN
McIlvanney says that Leonard never "broke" Hagler. Wrong. He broke Hagler's rhythm; he broke Hagler's intention; and he broke the overall style that let the Marvelous One dominate so many other opponents in the past. Did Hagler ever come close to "breaking" Leonard? I should say not.
Boxing is more than a brawl. With all due respect to Hagler, Leonard has raised the level of boxing a step or two with his class and style. Thanks for coming out of retirement, Ray. I hope to see you against Tommy Hearns.
New York City
In response to the April 6 SPOTLIGHT by Jay Feldman on Lee Chilton, The Gloveman of Fremont, Calif., I must refute the notion that Chilton is "the only one in the country specializing in the repair, restoration and reconditioning of baseball gloves." In Campbell, Calif., there is a man who has been doing this for the past 20 years: Charlie Rose, of Charlie Rose Baseball Equipment.
I have seen the 75-year-old Rose put aside gloves he was working on in order to help a young man who had a game that afternoon. He will not sell a glove without restringing the webbing or adding support to it. I could recount other incidents but suffice it to say we are fortunate to have both Chilton and Rose.
WHAT'S A HOOSIER?
I can assure you there is no doubt about the origin of the term "hoosier" (That Championship Touch, April 13). It derived from "hoozer"—from the Cumberland County dialect of Old England—and its Anglo-Saxon root was "hoo," which meant "high" or "hill." Thus, a Cumberland hoozer lived in the hills and was considered uncouth.
In the 1700s emigrant Cumberland hoozers settled in the Carolinas and then spread throughout the Southeast, where hoozer became a synonym for "cracker," which later displaced hoozer in Florida and Georgia. (One could still find " Alabama hoosiers" early in this century.) Southern hoosiers migrated to Indiana and brought the word with them; the first written use appears in a letter from an Oregon, Mo., resident to his uncle in Indianapolis in 1826. The writer tells of some Indiana hoosiers who had moved into the area.