SI Vault
Edited by Gay Flood
June 13, 1983
RATING HOLMES Sir:I agree with Pat Putnam's high estimation of Larry Holmes's boxing skills (Holmes Had a Spoonful, May 30). However, I am puzzled by his relegation of Holmes to a rank below that of Rocky Marciano and Sonny Liston. If there is a more overrated figure in boxing annals than Marciano, his name escapes me. Marciano's major victories—over Joe Louis, Jersey Joe Walcott and Ezzard Charles—came when his opponents were past their prime. Archie Moore, who at the time of his title bout with Marciano was at least 38 and an overblown light heavyweight to boot, actually dropped Rocky. Indeed, it seems unlikely that Marciano, with his singular lack of reach and height—no heavyweight champ since Tommy Burns has been shorter—would have been able to get past Holmes's pistonlike jab. This is not to mention the fits Holmes's dazzling combinations and superb footwork would have given him, or the fact that Marciano would not have been able to combat Holmes's most undervalued asset—his ring generalship. Moreover, Marciano fought in an era—the 1950s—that many of the sport's pundits regard as boxing's dark age.
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June 13, 1983

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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If endurance triathletes and distance runners have learned anything at all, it is that their bodies need to be regulated and monitored during intense training and competition, especially in the heat. Just think: If a runner with the highly trained capabilities of a Moore can run into serious trouble, how much additional care should the rest of us take when competing? There is always a tomorrow to try again. I hope, with the hot weather approaching, that your readers heed some very good advice.
Staten Island, N.Y.

In his recent column reviewing the television coverage of this past season's NBA playoffs (TV/RADIO, May 16), William Taaffe described ESPN's Pepsi-Cola-sponsored Hotshot halftime feature as insipid, pubescent and boring. As the national runner-up in the 1980 Hotshot competition, I feel qualified to speak on behalf of its participants. The kids involved in this program work incredibly hard for a chance at this kind of television exposure, not to mention the opportunity to travel to NBA cities. The dedication this program inspires deserves acclaim, not unfair criticism. These kids may well be the ones we pay to see in the future.

Furthermore, I am surprised at SI. To criticize a professional is one thing, but to attack a program that offers young people a chance of a lifetime is entirely wrong.
Wayzata, Minn.

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