So "it won't happen that way" (Better Not Sell the Old Man Short, Sept. 29)? It's about time that someone proved Muhammad Ali is a mere mortal—an earthling, if you will. Ali's only remaining boxing weapon is his lightning-quick tongue, which can convince us the impossible is possible. But, as Larry Holmes demonstrated, one does not fight with one's tongue, so now all that's left for The Mouth is to eat crow. It's time the boxing world gave Holmes his due. All hail Holmes!
We learned a lesson on Oct. 2: that even The Greatest, earthling or not, cannot win the fight against time. But it's a shame the lesson had to be learned in the way it was.
It's interesting to see the vultures swoop in for the kill after the Ali-Holmes fight. They malign Ali for not going out a winner and question his sanity for pursuing a miracle fourth title. Who can blame Ali? These same people had the same doubts before his bouts with George Foreman in 1974 and Leon Spinks in 1978.
The victory by Holmes does not lower the stature of Ali. Holmes is a great fighter. Ali, in his prime, was the greatest boxer. This final fight simply adds to the Ali legend: at the age of 38, after being out of the ring for two years, he lasted 10 rounds with Holmes. How many younger contenders can make the same claim?
JOSEPH F. LENIUS
Pat Putnam's preview of the Holmes-Ali bout was very well done. Equally impressive were the accompanying illustrations by Bart Forbes. What was uncanny was that the AP photos published in my local paper the morning after the bout looked exactly, detail for detail, like Forbes' paintings—done weeks before the fight!
West Hartford, Conn.
I predict that there will soon be a sports musical comedy on Broadway called Damn Cosmos with a hit song that goes "Whatever Giorgio wants, Giorgio gets" (The Joint Was Jumping, Sept. 29).
Van Nuys, Calif.
If 5,000 Cosmos fans can outshout "45,000 other spectators who were inclined, clearly, to root for the Strikers," that has to tell you something about the New Yorsey fans.
Douglas S. Looney's story on Colorado Football Coach Chuck Fairbanks (There Ain't No More Gold in Them Thar Hills, Oct. 6) was ill-timed and in poor taste. Kicking a decent man when he is down is not in the sporting tradition. To dwell on Fairbanks' personality and spending habits is to miss the whole point of the Colorado problem. You can't beat ordinary competition, much less UCLA, Nebraska and Oklahoma, with freshmen and sophomores. And in recruiting, you can't entice promising athletes to choose your school without quality facilities.
Fairbanks has proved he's a winner. He should not be made the scapegoat for the devastation left by his predecessors. What he needs is time to build his own program. What he didn't need was a hatchet job by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
Coral Gables, Fla.
So the Title IX-mandated expenditures on women's athletics are greatly responsible for Athletic Director Eddie Crowder's plight at the University of Colorado? Crowder, tacitly or otherwise, approves the expenditure of some $670,000 for dressing-room remodeling and the renovation of Chuck Fairbanks' microwave-equipped office, and then moans about the $500,000 it took to run the entire women's athletic program for a year.