RIGHT TO FIGHT
The new campaign to ban boxing, touched off by the death of former Featherweight Champion Davey Moore (Death of a Champion, April 1), is as absurd as abolishing automobiles because of the number of traffic deaths which occur.
It is the principle involved here that I believe to be more important than the actual threat to boxing as a sport. Society must inform and educate its citizens so that they are not deceived and taken advantage of, but it should not and cannot afford to furnish overprotection by abolishing an activity which by all rights should be left to the discrimination of the participants.
As a fighter Davey Moore enjoyed the highest success in his profession. He also suffered from the hazard of that profession. It is indeed a tragedy that the consequences were so severe. But the most important memorial we can give Boxer Davey Moore is to recognize the fact that he was a man, both capable and responsible, who possessed the freedom to choose his way of life. And that he accepted the consequences of his decision with unhesitating courage.
It is ironical that the poor prizefighter, with all his gifted skill in fighting, cannot fight back at those who would rob him of his livelihood and the opportunity to better his station in life. It is reasonable to assume that Paret and Moore would have accepted death as it occurred, rather than be denied this opportunity.
SEYMOUR SOLOMON, D.D.S.
Cassius Clay has done more for boxing these past two years than anyone since Rocky Marciano. Yet Huston Horn has written an article (A Comeuppance for the Cocksure Cassias, March 25) attempting to mock the great young fighter. How he can say that Clay fought poorly against the No. 3 challenger, Doug Jones, is beyond me. Possibly Clay tends to annoy some people with his lip, but he is the tonic boxing needed and I only hope he will continue to shoot his mouth off until he is crowned heavyweight champion of the world before the largest crowd in ring history.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
I understand from the newspapers here that 1959 Pulitzer Prize Poet Stanley Kunitz has issued a challenge of his own to Cassius Clay: a meeting, any day, in the poetic ring with a knockout in four stanzas.
The way things are shaping up, 1963 could well go down in sports history as the year of the big fix (A Debatable Football Scandal in the Southeast, March 25). So far this year pro football, basketball, boxing (always boxing) and now college football have been subjected to the gimlet eye of scandal. The latest so-called scandal, though, is a real hummer.
After reading what was available on the topic, it was reassuring to find that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED leaned to the veracity of Coaches Butts and Bryant. That's the way I'm leaning, and for the sake of all sports on all levels and all coaches and athletic directors everywhere, let us pray we are leaning in the right direction.
T. C. FAWCETT
North Canton, Ohio
In connection with the recent controversy over the "fix" between Wally Butts and Bear Bryant, I thought you might be interested in recalling this quote which appeared in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Oct. 23, 1961: " Wally Butts, athletic director of the University of Georgia, speaking at the San Antonio Quarterback Club: 'The definition of an atheist in Alabama is a person who doesn't believe in Bear Bryant.' "
To think that Bear Bryant would need an outline of " Georgia's plays and defensive patterns" after being a 14-to 17-point favorite is utterly ridiculous.