Sports Illustrated and Morton Sharnik have given boxing its greatest assist since the first fighter donned a pair of gloves (Death of a Champion, April 1). Many, many thanks for your factual and unemotional account of the tragedy. With the exception of three local sportswriters, we've read nothing but reams and reams of hysterical outcries from headline seekers who managed to hit the front pages with news of Davey Moore's collapse, struggle and death. Then on the first day following Moore's wake, the story of his last flight to Ohio was buried deep on page 10 of the sports section where there are more classified ads than sports.
The people who screamed "ban boxing" never did say on what grounds. Oh, there were words from certain politicians and even His Holiness Pope John XXIII, that it should be outlawed on the grounds that it is barbaric. But this is not only ridiculous, it is biased and unfair. The opponents of boxing are quick to tell us that boxing should not exist, because we point out that there are "more gentle" deaths in mountain climbing, auto racing, hiking, etc., too. But therein lies the crux of the whole matter. Why single out one sport because of certain risks involved, and let others thrive with the same or even greater risks (including that big sport—the flight to the moon)? Unless boxing is banned because of a defect in its morality, then it should not be banned unless all other "risk-ridden" activities are also banned. Ironically, the critics seldom touch the moral aspect. It's just as well since almost no fighters have ever expressed a desire to render permanent harm or injury ( Sugar Ramos expressed this beautifully).
Once again, I must applaud you for mentioning boxing's age-old miseries—the influence of hoodlums and lack of scientific research with regard to better protection (though the latter was hardly a factor in Davey's demise). This kind of constructive criticism is always welcome. Last fall you had an excellent article on the morality of boxing (SI, Nov. 5). Morton Sharnik's masterpiece rates beside it.
FR. LEWIS P. BOHLER JR.
Church of the Advent (Episcopal)
I'd like to second the point you made in your article on the death of Davey Moore, namely, your reference to the use of scientific devices to detect serious injuries.
I was a college boxer at the University of Wisconsin and won the NCAA title at 145 pounds in 1952. Two years later I was knocked out and given an electroencephalographic test. They detected what they termed "slow waves" and did not allow me to fight again. I can't help but feel that that test prevented me from incurring serious damage.
However, college boxing did give me two important things: a college education and the realization that difficult situations must be faced—not only in the ring but in later life as well. There was never a lime waiting in the dressing room before a fight that I didn't wish somehow that I wouldn't have to go through with the ring battle.
Boxing taught me a lesson my father might have learned many years before when he left our family of five after our mother's death. In other words, boxing gave mean education and a more important lifelong lesson in facing difficult situations. In addition, the scientific procedures available saved me from possible serious injury. I came out way ahead of the game.
ROBERT J. MORGAN
The death of Davey Moore puts us all under an obligation to do our utmost to see that this type of thing does not happen again. The state of Virginia requires all amateur boxers to wear headgear when engaged in boxing. I cannot believe that headgear is ineffective, and I must reject the contention of the promoters that the use of headgear is "certain death at the box office." The promoters of yesteryear no doubt claimed that the use of boxing gloves would keep fans away.
PRESTON G. ACKER
SOME KIND OF NUTS
As a lifelong admirer of squirrels, I was intrigued by the Freeloader Freeway described in SCORECARD (March 25).
I hasten to reassure those who think these clever quadrupeds will not find Nutty Narrows Bridge. It would probably be a well-merited gesture to their intelligence to give them at least a few days to learn the new way across the street before marking it out with nuts. I'll bet a quarter they'd find it.