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SCORECARD
Edited by Robert Creamer
February 02, 1970
SORE HORSES
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February 02, 1970

Scorecard

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SORE HORSES

In the old days in China carvings of the nude female figure were used for diagnosis. When a lady was sick she modestly pointed out on the "doctor doll" where she was hurting; doctors were not allowed to make personal inspection.

Just as archaic is the rule suggested at the recent American Horse Shows Association Convention in New York City by the Tennessee Walking Horse Committee, which proposed that horses entered in shows be examined by veterinarians at eye level only; the vet would not be allowed even to touch a possibly sore pastern. Since deliberate cruelty to walking horses ("soring" the pastern area to exaggerate artificially the natural gait) is commonplace (SI, July 23, 1956 et seq.), a vet thus handcuffed would be useless and his presence mere eyewash. The trainers keep pleading for time to clean up their own mess, but what they really want is an eternity. Fortunately, the AHSA board of directors did not accept the "Look, no hands rule," and veterinarians will have complete freedom at recognized shows to seek out violations.

An even bigger help will be the Tydings Bill, which imposes severe penalties for soring and which has passed the Senate. We hope the House of Representatives will quickly follow suit and make it against the law of the land to torture horses for show purposes.

SOUL MATES
There are wives, and there are wives. Gary Roedemeier of Murray, Ky. has one who is really special. He gave her a set of golf clubs when they were married a month or so ago, and she gave him a regulation-size football goalpost for the backyard.

SHADOW AND SUBSTANCE

What do you want to bet that, because of the computerized fight last week, 40 years from now thousands of old men will tell their grandchildren that they saw the fight of the century, the match between Rocky Marciano and Cassius Clay? Never mind the record books, they will cry through toothless gums, I saw it. I saw Clay get knocked out.

At Miami Beach Auditorium, one of the sites where the contrived bout was shown on film, 2,000 people, including Marciano's widow and daughter, yelled and shouted as Rocky rallied to catch Clay in the 13th. The 13th round...something familiar about that. Ah, yes, that was the round in which Marciano scored his come-from-behind knockout of Jersey Joe Walcott to win the heavyweight title. Was the 13th round this time coincidence or the script or the computer? The Miami Beach crowd could not have cared less. They may have been fed flimflam—Marciano and Clay sparred more than 70 rounds for the cameras last summer, dutifully giving the film editors a wide variety of situations to choose from in putting the "fight" together—but they loved it. In the 10th, when Clay was knocked down the first time, one spectator leaped from his seat with his arms held triumphantly over his head. When, later, the referee examined Marciano's supposedly cut and bleeding face ("It was not catsup," said Murray Woroner, the producer. "There were two legitimate cuts supplemented by makeup"), another man shouted at the screen, "Don't stop it!"

The crowd did not notice the sag in Marciano's belly when he leaned over to avoid Clay's sham punches or the healthy rug that covered his bald pate or the dubbed-in sounds of punches landing or the complete lack of clinches (no clinches in a 13-round fight?). The illusion succeeded mainly because Clay played his part so well. He did not fight like Clay, did not float like a butterfly or sting like a bee. Only once did he look like himself. That was in the eighth, when he slid to one side and hit Marciano with a chopping right.

"That was Clay," said a depressed Angelo Dundee, Clay's manager and trainer. "That was legit. As for the rest of it, that was no Clay I knew." Don Warner, who once fought him, said, "In his whole life Clay never threw that many body punches. He wouldn't risk his face. But those are details; the people don't care about that. They got what they paid to see—Clay gets beat. And, heck, everybody made a lot of money."

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