I was born on the evening of June 18, 1941. Most of America did indeed come to a halt that night. While my mother was in St. Andrew's Hospital in Murphysboro, Ill. awaiting my birth, my father and the doctor were sitting in the parking lot listening to the fight.
Finally, as my father told it, at about the seventh round a nurse came to the car and implored the doctor to tend to his duties. He told my father to keep listening. After the 13th-round knockout, my father went into the hospital to report to the doctor, who said, "It's a boy. Who won?" I'm glad he had his priorities straight at some point.
JAMES L. McDOWELL
Terre Haute, Ind.
Perhaps nothing illustrates the durability and the universal appeal of professional boxing better than two articles in your June 17 issue. After all, what other sport could in 1941 bring baseball "to a halt" (the Billy Conn-Joe Louis fight) and, 44 years later, bring to a pause a war in Northern Ireland (the Barry McGuigan-Eusebio Pedroza fight).
ROBERT J. COOK
I was fortunate to spend my first 21 years growing up in Pittsburgh. I "loafed" with the guys, drank many an "Imp and an Iron" and also had the chance to see the "Burgh" transform itself into a beautiful city. Deford's description of Billy Conn's life was just right, one of the purest pieces of sports journalism I've encountered in my 10 years of subscribing, and the way he described the Burgh from the 1930s to the present did a great service to all of us who are so proud to say we're from the Steel City.
My "fawther" used to tell me stories about this fighter named "Cawn." Deford's article made me realize Conn's greatness as a boxer and as a man.
PAUL S. STROYNE
Whaddayuns tink yer doin' makin' funadaway we talk? Djever tink dat mebbe da resta yuns goddit wrong? Ya makussound lika buncha illiderits or somtin.
The only part of the story I can't agree with is the labeling of the Conn-Louis fight as the most dramatic of all time. Sure, the fight was a classic in heavyweight annals, but it can't compare in excitement or quality with the first and third Ali-Frazier bouts.
Saddle River, N.J.
I am not inclined to praise writers for producing good articles; after all, that's their job. But when a writer gives us two beautifully written pieces in one issue, as Frank Deford did in The Boxer And The Blonde and The Day Chrissie Reclaimed Paris, praise is demanded.
Each piece is a classic to be filed away and enjoyed all over again when something said or read in the future brings it to memory. Thank you for some delightful reading.
GARY G. BAXEL
Pebble Beach, Calif.
Frank Deford's story on the French Open was a delight because of the nostalgia he evoked over the fierce but friendly Chris Evert Lloyd- Martina Navratilova rivalry. The respect, generosity and grace with which these two champions have always treated each other are a credit to them and their sport. Martina and Chris did us proud with that hug in Paris.
New York City