ON THE ROPES
The tragic ending of the Paret-Griffith bout (The Deadly Insult, April 2) demonstrated the desirability of changing the design of the boxing ring.
With only two ropes, the top rope about three feet above the ring floor, boxers would fall out of the ring instead of being hung up on the ropes. They could fall onto a padded strip about four feet wide, if the ropes were moved in from the edges of the ring floor.
I have a program which I think will improve things immensely without essentially changing the character of this time-honored sport:
1) Limit all fights to seven rounds.
2) Cut rounds from three minutes to one minute.
3) Eliminate judges and make all exhibitions no-decision contests.
4) Eliminate gloves and allow contestants to carry a knife in each hand, the length of the blade being limited to eight inches.
REAR ADMIRAL D. V. GALLERY, USN (ret.)
Sirs: Let's call it by its right name: murder.
WM. B. KING
What price a world championship?
KENNETH E. HIXON
Brutal beatings like that don't do anything for boxing. Help stop them.
Whatever else you may say about boxing either pro or con (and I personally think there's a lot to be said that's pro), you cannot accuse it of ever hurting anybody who didn't know the risk he was taking. Facing that risk always involves courage, and sometimes it involves foolhardiness, but it is never inadvertent. To treat boxing as though it were a public menace, like narcotic drugs or drunken driving, is to hold in contempt the sincere enthusiasm of millions of fight fans and the sporting skill of thousands of boxers past and present. If prizefighting were all that bad, true sport fans would have turned their backs on it years ago.
New York City
•For this magazine's attitude on the question, see page 19—ED.
Ray Cave was right: Fred Taylor took his bath. (Cincinnati is No. 1, April 2). But he wasn't smiling.
We Cincy rooters hope that you continue to pick our opponents to win. You are consistent and we do not wish to mar your record.
The big question in Cincinnati is will Ray Cave turn pro?
True greatness is measured by something more than victory. The thing about victory and defeat which is similar is that both must be accepted graciously and with some semblance of humility. Ohio State, in being defeated two years in a row, did not dishonor its reputation.
E. S. BLAIR
Referees aren't the only ones at fault (Anarchy on Court and Field, March 26). Try our nation's coaches. These ill-mannered, belligerent men, or shall we call them boys, who are supposed to be capable of setting an example to future Americans, are doing a poor job of it.
DAVID L. CROWLEY
Both sides are at fault (and I have been on both sides of the fence) but the coaches and school administrations are far more guilty. They won't hire the men who'll put them in place with the kind of discipline the rule-book calls for. A young official trying to move up (why anyone wants to today is the $64 question) is expected to curry favor and fraternize with the all-powerful coaches not only to make himself known to them, but because it is the only way he can "get games."
CARL F. GALOW JR.
Your article dealt mostly with the professionals and the larger educational institutions. The sad part is that precisely the same conditions that you wrote about exist in the smallest school of the lowest classification.
You failed to mention one influence over public opinion which seems to be free from censure, that is, the announcer of games that are broadcast.
It seems the trend is away from everything our athletic programs stand for—sportsmanship, leadership and respect for authority, plus that intangible—the ability to take the sour with the sweet—defeat as well as victory.
Bald Knob, Ark.
We appreciate the support you have given officiating. For the record, however, the Pacific Intercollegiate Officiating Bureau and its predecessor, the late Pacific Coast Conference, have not permitted coaches to blackball officials or to request them preferentially for more than 10 years. As for Al Lightner's forfeiting the game at Berkeley in January 1956: this did not prejudice his career. He received 27 varsity assignments from us that season and has averaged 28.7 since.
•Al Lightner has officiated exactly one game in the Berkeley campus gym since the 1956 incident.—ED.
As coach I was particularly interested in the statement by the officials: "Spectators have become intolerant—and intolerable." I definitely agree.
When I am on the bench I thank heaven that my obsession to stay on it and keep my mouth shut over a disputed call has never left me. Should I ever rise it would probably be to slap some lippy fan senseless rather than sound off to a man who is trying to do a difficult job.
I must confess I enjoyed being detected as a Boston Brahmin 'Enry 'Iggins with Mel Allen, Bob Elson, Ray Scott, etc., collectively cast as a potential claque of Liza Doolittles (SCORECARD), March 26).
Spreading the gospel of Bostonese among the barbarian grammarians who inhabit the great wastelands west of Waltham, Mass. must, indeed, be a cause to which we all are dedicated. As everyone I met in Copley Square today commented, "How else would anyone pronounce 'STAL-ad' or 'FIST-ah'?" [i.e., Stallard and Pfister].
There is only one thing wrong with your comment, as we see it: the caption should have read "from Fenway Pahk." It's pronounced the same as Hahvud College, of course.
JOSEPH W. MCKENNEY
•The caption indeed read "Fenway Pahk," but one of those typographical errors "corrected" it.—ED.