When Ali predicts that a fight will be over by the fifth round, and instead needs the 15th round to pull it out by a hair, his fighting days are numbered. My idea of a champ is one who can beat his opponent, and do it decisively. Ali has been anything but decisive in his last two title bouts. It's time he hung up his gloves and let some of the newer fighters strut their stuff.
THE DOCTOR'S BILLS
I was thoroughly disgusted with your Oct. 4 SCORECARD item siding with the New York Nets' Julius Erving in his quest for renegotiation of his contract. The $400,000-a-year salary of Nate Archibald, the newest Net, is irrelevant, as is Erving's value to the rest of the NBA. The point is that Erving signed a seven-year, $1.9 million contract beginning with the 1973-74 season. He therefore has the legal obligation to fulfill this agreement, which guaranteed him financial security regardless of any fluctuation in pro basketball salaries.
Dr. J is without doubt the No. 1 gate attraction in the newly enlarged NBA. As you say, he is underpaid compared to other stars. He should have opted for one-year contracts so that he could command his worth each year. But he chose the seven-year arrangement, since one-year deals offer no long-term security in the event of injury or subpar performance. He wants the best of the two worlds, and for the sake of pro sports he shouldn't get it.
By the way, should Nets Owner Roy Boe be able to renegotiate Dr. J's and his other players' contracts downward if pro basketball salaries go down as a result of the NBA-ABA merger?
Julius Erving does not deserve a new contract. As for your suggestion that the "old 18" teams of the NBA underwrite the added costs of a higher contract for Erving, it is unreasonable. The ultimate result will be higher ticket prices in every city, and, as usual, the losers will be the fans.
WILLIAM M. KERR
I totally agree with your item. If the owner of the Nets gets no gate receipts for away games and the owners of the old NBA teams won't kick in to raise Julius Erving's salary, the Nets should keep the Doctor at home. His current $300,000 salary will be plenty to cover his play in home games. Maybe then the other owners and fans around the league will wake up.
JOE BRANDT Peru, Ill.
If you are trying to sever relations with Canada, just keep writing articles like the one about the Canada Cup (Canceling a Bunch of Good Czechs, Sept. 27). I find it hard to believe someone would actually point out that Canada was the first host country of the Olympics not to win a gold medal. Is there a law that says one must? That statement had nothing to do with anything. It was a cheap shot, to say the least.
Another thing I'd like to know is who is Peter Gammons and from what planet does he come. He implies my country's morale is low. I feel great to be a Canadian. We won the Canada Cup tournament, we held a great Olympics and we are the North American Soccer League champions. I've rarely had more national pride.
We Canadians take offense at such outlandish comments as Mike Milbury's ("I think we proved something to that bunch of egomaniacs") after Team USA, or Team Useless, lost to Canada 4-2. First of all, nothing was proved. The Americans had lost two previous exhibition games to Team Canada by huge margins. And it is a fact that heavily favored teams play just well enough to win against a weak opponent.
As far as "that bunch" being egomaniacs, when was the last time that an American athlete looked in the mirror?