This is at once his strength and his great weakness. He is so intent on getting the job done and so hard to deflect from his purpose that he is predictable. He moves in and out in a straight line. He is willing to take too many punches in order to land his own. In his last three fights he has been more impatient than ever. Rather than slip punches and move in behind the jab, or even try crudely to set up his opponents, he simply marches in and socks it to them. Bonavena kept his hands glued to his face and Frazier could not open him up. He tried change-of-pace punches and uppercuts and, finally, taunts: "Come on, Oscar, mix it. Mix it, Oscar. Punch, Oscar, punch." But Oscar knew better. "I was out there smoking," said Frazier ruefully, "but Oscar wouldn't fall."
"Beautiful," exclaimed Angelo Dundee, manager of WBA champion Jimmy Ellis, after watching the fight. "One of these days Joe Frazier will smoke himself to death. As everybody could see, a smart veteran who can punch can pick Joe Frazier apart. And I've got the man to do the job—Jimmy Ellis."
When? Not likely before the fall of 1969.
SQUARE AND HAIRY
The antihair-in-sports movement shows signs of fading. Not only is virtually every rumored candidate for commissioner of baseball considerably shaggier than General Eckert, but Yankee Manager Ralph Houk—formerly a major in the Army—recently made a statement on hirsuteness that might have been a Beatle's or Joe Namath's: "Sometimes I think we're getting a little too square about all this. All I know is every time I see a picture of one of my grandfathers or great-grandfathers, they all had hair coming down their back, and long beards, and they were pretty good guys."
Furthermore, Oregon Freshman Basketball Coach Frank Arnold, who had ordered his black players to stop letting their hair do what comes naturally, backed down last week—admitting the decree had been rooted in fuzzy thinking. "It is now clear to me that my requests for personal grooming were based upon my personal tastes," he said. Arnold's change of heart came after black students protested to Acting University President Charles Johnson, who ruled that haircuts have nothing to do with a student's right to participate in sports.
Judging from some of his photographs, by the way, James Naismith, the father of basketball, wore what might well be called a "natural" mustache.