BEARS AND ELEPHANTS
Put Robert H. Boyle in a ring with Cassius Clay! At least he'll learn not to doubletalk (This Is What Clay Says He Wants, Aug. 5).
First, Mr. Boyle blasts Cassius for judging the outcome of the probable 1964 bout when Clay "insists that he is going to whup 'that big ugly bear.' " He then judges the fight himself by saying Clay has no chance to defeat Liston, a so-called "virtually indestructible and demonstrably deadly fighting machine." Boyle goes on to say Liston has "strength enough to stun an elephant with either hand." This I have to see! And so should Robert Boyle. Let's go, Cassius!
West Lafayette, Ind.
Boxing exists purely on the basis of sport. If it is a business it should be taxed just as any other concern. In the case of Clay versus Liston it loses the sporting clement and becomes more of a profit tool.
Cassius Clay has not shown enough of himself to be validly considered as the No. 1 challenger. In his decision over Doug Jones his performance was not decisive and certainly not convincing. Doug Jones fought well enough to justify a rematch. Jones has been slighted, but he definitely does have a claim on Clay's contention for the title. Poor Doug Jones!
Now, how about Floyd Patterson? Even though his championship status has been thoroughly lowered by Liston's two kayos, his past performance in other fights clearly warrants a match with Clay. Clay may have a greater potential ability than Patterson, but at present I am sure most boxing fans would side with the former champion.
For Clay's own safety, he should box more valid ring opponents to prove his ability to be matched with Liston. At the tender age of 21, can Clay be considered a ring veteran? Certainly not.
ALBERT E. CHENGERY
Parkersburg, W. Va.
Gilbert Rogin's article on the dilemma of Floyd Patterson (I Live with Myself, Aug. 5) incorporates nearly as much sensitivity as the "champion" himself evinces.
Rogin's opinion is consoling to Patterson fans everywhere who may have wondered, though somewhat prematurely, "What happened to Floyd Patterson?" The answer seems to be that Patterson, the man, has outgrown Patterson, the fighter.
Where and how did the illiterate Sonny Liston get his driver's license?
•Although Sonny Liston is now able to read some words (he is now mastering the Sunday comics), at the time he got his Pennsylvania driver's license he was considerably less facile in the literary arts. Pennsylvania laws, however, require no literacy test for prospective drivers. An applicant need only memorize the shapes of road signs and such words as stop and slow and be able to sign his name to pass. And Liston did pass—twice. "Actually," said a Pennsylvania trooper who gave him the second test two years ago, "Liston drives well."—ED.
As a reader of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED since its inception and as a salt-water sailor who has had a good deal of blue water in his socks, I was most disappointed in your flat-out statement in "Back to Schooners," (SCORECARD, Aug. 5) that a tough old Grand Banks schooner is "easier to handle and just as fast as the J boat or the 12-meter."
I wonder whether the writer of that opinion ever sailed on any of the three types of boats to which he referred, or if, in fact, he knows what in blazes he is talking about. I have had the pleasure of racing on several schooners and, although lots of fun, they can be man-killers when it comes to handling. I also question whether the Bluenose or the Gertrude L. Thebaud could ever have beaten a 12-meter, let alone a J boat, working to windward.
Certainly there is little doubt that a Gloucester or Grand Banks schooner could give any sloop ever built a real shellacking on a beam or broad reach, but for an "authoritative" magazine to make such a brash statement which, by implication, encompasses all points of sailing is either one whale of a typo or plain ignorance.
ABBOT M. GEER
New York City
•For a visual comparison of a J boat—the 126-foot, 1934 America's Cup winner, Rainbow—and the original 142-foot schooner, Bluenose, see below.—ED.
A SITTING BLUEBIRD?
Regarding Donald Campbell and the new Bluebird (Speed King? Or Just Son of Speed King?, July 29), I would like to add my bit to Kenneth Rudeen's excellent story. I feel qualified to comment on the 1960 Bonneville Salt Flats attempt as I was FIA observer there. I knew Sir Malcolm as well as Donald and Leo Villa, who has served as mechanic for both. I also own the old Bluebird.
On the Flats for Mickey Thompson's runs as well as Campbell's, I was one of the few crash witnesses. Trying to guess the speed of the car just prior to the crash seems of small importance. The fact remains that in 1.6 miles and with the Bluebird sliding sideways on the course, it was going fast enough to develop lift that carried it 696 feet through the air. My guess would be about 300 mph, which is a reasonable figure, considering that Art Arfons in his jet-powered Green Monster dragster has many times exceeded 200 mph in just a quarter mile.
In checking my notes I find that after a half mile Bluebird started to veer, and for the next mile Campbell struggled to straighten it out. Did Donald "lose it," or hadn't the faulty steering with which Bluebird arrived at the Flats been corrected?
I go along with Villa who said Campbell had "put his foot down." On the evening before the accident Donald told me that he was to make braking tests the following morning and would try some "hot" starts, allowing himself at least half the course for stopping.
Another point: "No one blames the car itself." This is simply not true. To start with, there was steering trouble. Some veteran Salt Flatters considered the wheels and tires too big, the front-seating position undesirable. In event of a yaw the driver had no way of ascertaining the car's attitude until too late to correct it. The lack of braking chutes raised many eyebrows, and Bluebird's shape was criticized as to possible lift and instability at high speeds. (Note the addition of a large tail fin since the Salt Flats.) One thing you can say for Bluebird, it is the strongest car ever built. Otherwise Donald Campbell wouldn't be with us today.
I feel that too much personal criticism has been aimed at Donald. Who can blame him for seeking a longer course? The 10 or 11 miles at the Salt Flats is woefully short and inadequate for a potential 500 mph vehicle without drag chutes. Certainly he cannot be blamed for wanting rescue precautions after his Salt Flats experience.
On a visit with him in the hospital I criticized the project for spending millions with no provisions whatsoever for rescue or first-aid equipment even though the nearest hospital was 11O miles distant. Fate was kind to Donald, otherwise more serious injuries might have prevented his surviving the 90 mph ride to medical aid. Rectifying a similar situation in another remote area indicates common sense rather than "fear."
The carping of critics at the Salt Flats can be dismissed. The issue resolves around just one point: Was the Bluebird sitting on the line ready to go and Donald off living it up? I say no. And from reading about the Australian adventure, I would say the answer there appears to be the same.
WILLIAM R. TUTHILL
Daytona Beach, Fla.
LOB AND DROP
I have been meaning to write you for some time. You will laugh, but it was Bill Talbert's article in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (TWO Strokes to Make You Club Champion, April 15) that recently teed off my win in the River Club tennis championship. After all the tennis I have played you might think I could remember the lob and drop shot. It was perfect—and at the age of 52 it was important for me to try something against my young opponent!
MRS. MELVIN M. JOHNSON JR.
New York City