THE DEFENSE RESTS
J.P. Heinz' literate article, In Defense of the Sweet Science (Aug. 16), failed to convince me of the merits of boxing. I cannot object to this sport on the grounds of esthetics, corruption or physical danger; Heinz covers these topics well, and consequently the art of pugilism comes off as looking no worse than football, baseball, hockey or any other major sport. My objection to boxing is philosophical or strategic. It is the only sport perpetrated by modern man which has as its object the physical hurt of another human being. While some other sports encompass physical contact, at times even brutal physical contact, boxing alone has no goal save the maiming of one's opponent. Football and hockey teams win by scoring more points than their opponent; a boxer wins by beating on his opponent, preferably to the point of unconsciousness.
It is this strategy that separates boxing from other sports, and it is this aspect that Heinz does not consider in his article. It also could be an explanation of why boxing is no longer supported as it once was. Hopefully we have reached a point in time when such treatment of one human being by another is seen as less than human and ethically wrong.
JAMES B. SLAGER
West Lafayette, Ind.
Congratulations to J. P. Heinz on his eloquent defense of boxing, a sport that is beginning, hopefully, to emerge from the mist of a darkened era. The author's knack for comparing the happenings of today's boxing world with those of yesterday is astounding. He puts down the opposition in an undeniably brilliant use of common sense. It is unfortunate that some of the nation's legislators have not come up with arguments of this quality in response to criticism of this solid sport.
J.P. Heinz omits a notable aficionado from his roster of boxing buffs among the literati—P. Vergilius Maro (70 B.C.-19 B.C.), whose stirring account of an early crowd-pleaser between one Dares, a light-hitting swarmer, and one Entellus, a fading but still hard-punching veteran, appears in Book V of the Aeneid.
The contest was held, under rules that might be most charitably described as pre-London prize ring, for the edification of the Trojans during a stopover on the way from Carthage to Latium. Entellus, down early from what was officially ruled a slip, was assisted to his feet by a friend at ringside (shades of Dempsey against Firpo) and went on to score a TKO when the bout was stopped to save Dares from further punishment.
Regrettably, Vergil was no Nat Fleischer and failed to record either the weights or the elapsed time. Nonetheless he should have been included in Mr. Heinz' list. With all due respect to Aldo Spoldi, Tiberio Mitri, Primo Camera, Nino Benvenuti and Enzo Fiermonte, the fact is that Vergil himself may turn out to be boxing's noblest Roman of them all.
EDWARD R. CUNNIFFE JR.
New York City
HOW HIGH THE HOMER
The equation provided by Dr. Berman (PEOPLE, Aug. 16) is unfortunately not complete, although fairly accurate for baseballs hit out of the park. Using the notation of Dr. Berman and making the same assumptions he has about neglecting such factors as air resistance, the earth's rotation, the ball park's latitude, wind and air currents, the rotation of the ball, etc., a more exact formula would be:
D = (d X h)/(16 X s�) + d - (d X H)/(16 X s�) X (h - H)/(h - H + 16s�)
The quantity H is the height, in feet, above ground when the ball was struck by the bat.
LAURENCE G. TAFF
University of Rochester
I feel that an important point has been overlooked in Grim Struggle with an Equine Killer (Aug. 16). The tragedy caused by VEE need not have arisen in the U.S., despite "international amenities" that had to be observed regarding vaccination of Mexican stock. The still "experimental" vaccine should have been tested long ago to determine its effect on equines under controlled conditions. VEE is not new and, although U.S. restrictions on use of vaccines to prevent foreign diseases not present in the U.S. are stiff, the opportunity has presented itself over past years to test the vaccine in epidemic situations in South and Central American countries to which the U.S. has supplied vaccine. That a controlled testing program was never established is, indeed, tragic. The march of VEE northward has been clear and evident, and the need for testing has been obvious.