I cannot refrain from commenting on the article by New York's Boxing Commissioner James A. Farley Jr. and his expressed desire to see "the absolute elimination of return-bout contracts for title fights" (My Fight in Defense of Boxing, April 23).
Under the aegis of the National Boxing Association this is already the rule in the 47 states of the U.S. that are members of the NBA. At the NBA convention in September, 1961 all return-bout clauses, overt and covert, in connection with contracts for championship bouts were outlawed. Any member organization violating this rule is subject to suspension.
That it is being enforced is proved by the fact that in the contract for the Harold Johnson-Von Clay light heavyweight championship fight we refused to accept a return-bout provision. In the forthcoming Harold Johnson-Doug Jones light heavyweight championship fight, there is no return-bout clause in the contract.
I agree with Commissioner Farley that it is ridiculous for two boxers to play battledore and shuttlecock with a championship with the encouragement of a boxing commission, while all the other contenders in the same weight class have been punching their way to the top, only to be frustrated in their ambitions to reach the pinnacle because of the monopolistic return-bout clause. At the next convention NBA members will be asked to consider an addendum to this rule, which will provide that when a champion has been dethroned his rating immediately thereafter shall be no higher than third. This means he would no longer be able to enjoy the advantages of the rule that compels a champion to fight the No. 1-ranked contender within six months.
The NBA claims no copyright on these rules; it would be happy to see them adopted by the New York Commission. Or, better still, it would welcome New York to membership in the National Boxing Association so that together we can all devote our united best efforts to the preservation and improvement of the sport of boxing.
ALFRED M. KLEIN
First Vice-President, NBA
?With Philadelphia now a leading bidder in the grab for the Patterson-Liston go and Cus D'Amato a stout insister on return-bout clauses, Pennsylvania's Commissioner Klein can look forward to some interesting conflicts.—ED.
Mr. Farley states: "I want boxing given back to the boxing fans, not a TV audience." What does Mr. Farley think the TV audience is if not many thousands of keen boxing fans?
I believe that TV can be the best medium of restoring the great sport of boxing—through proper matchmaking, proper refereeing and proper medical and physical supervision.
RALPH E. RUNELS
One TV fight each week certainly cannot hinder boxing that much.
Silver Spring, Md.
LACROSSE WE BEAR
How right you arc that in Baltimore the lacrosse stick, not the robin, is the first harbinger of spring (Massacre on a Muddy Plain, April 23). The lacrosse story of our family is actually not too unusual in our city, but I thought you might find it interesting. My husband, John W. (Benny) Boynton was All-America and 1928 Olympics from Hopkins. Our son John played at Oilman (prep school) and subsequently at Hopkins. Our daughter Lynn played at Bryn Mawr (prep school) and Hollins College. Our younger son George prepped at Gilman. He was awarded the C. Markland Kelly Award for the outstanding high school lacrosse player in his senior year, and was subsequently All-America at Williams College. Today, a business man, he is playing for the Mount Washington club here in Baltimore, and brother John, teacher and father of three, is playing for the Connecticut Valley Lacrosse Club. On one spring afternoon Mr. Boynton and I went to three games in three different schools in order to see our children play.
DOROTHY W. BOYNTON