It is going to take more than the good offices of SI and Robert Boyle to alter the so-called "popular impression" that boxing is dead (A Year of Decision, Jan. 4). It seems obvious that the "sport" of boxing will be around a long time to come, but unless professional boxing is really cleaned up—ridded of the crooks, exploiters, hoods and fistic phonies riding a crest of advertising backed by the underworld—I do not think the public will take the bait again. There is nothing inherently wrong in wishing to encourage boxing, but even as Mr. Boyle speaks of the greater sophistication among the sport's aficionados it is obvious that something is still very rotten. The heavyweight hierarchy listed in the article is a disgrace, as are some of the other divisions' leaders. It is apropos of the problem that the very men behind boxing when the public became fed up with some of the televised fixes are still masters of the gyms. No amount of whitewashing and optimistic talk will eliminate that fact. The solutions are singular and singularly simple. Just let the best fighters fight honest bouts.
This is no more the "year of decision" for boxing than was 1964. The same problems prevail. In my opinion one of the major evils right now is the tendency to try to evaluate public sentiment as opposed to simply giving the public its money's worth. The treatment of Sonny Liston is a good example. If Sonny is the best heavyweight in the world—and I still feel, despite the last debacle, that beside him Clay is a bad joke—his "trouble-prone" personality is hardly the point.
Traditionally, boxing fans have always gravitated to the hard-nosed kid from the other side of the tracks. And it seems to me that we, the public, are in fact much too sophisticated to want the champ to be a cream-puff image. Why then the continuing interest shown in promoting a glass-jaw like Patterson? If men like Liston were given more actual ring time and involved less with political shadowboxers, people might even be buying TVs solely for the Friday Night Fights. Otherwise, give us a good clean pro-football game anytime.
Your recent mention of Dartmouth in BASKETBALL'S WEEK (Jan. 11) contained the implication that Dartmouth men are "fuzzy-checked." This is false and unjustified. Even though we might think that Mervin Hyman is "fuzzy-cheeked," we would not print it.
It is common knowledge that Dartmouth men never get more than one shave per blade, and that in many cases the average is two blades per shave. This condition still exists even with the advent of "beep-beep" and other new stainless steel blades.
J. S. PARKHURST II
Our secret game plan for the forthcoming contest with the Princeton-Bradley machine includes beards for all players.
LIONEL BUTTERFIELD III
In regard to your editorial entitled "Heads Up, America" (SCORECARD, Jan. 11), I am inclined to agree with Harvard Hockey Coach Ralph Weiland concerning the need to bring collegiate hockey rules more up to date with those of the Canadian and professional games. It is my belief, however, that we should be more concerned about "the ever increasing flow" of Canadian hockey players onto our college teams. It is my understanding that there are approximately 300 Canadian boys attending colleges here as recipients of hockey scholarships.
The growth of ice hockey in this country has been more pronounced in recent years and should continue to expand. Indeed, hockey no longer is confined to those areas such as Minnesota, Michigan and the New England states. Youth hockey programs are now in effect in California, Florida, North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana, among other regions. There are approximately 200 boys between the ages of 10 and 18 in Pittsburgh's hockey program, and most of the games are played on the county's two outdoor artificial rinks, beginning at 6:15 a.m. As one of the coaches, I can attest to the boys' interest, fervor and rapidly increasing ability.
If my information is correct, certain of our college teams, particularly some of those in the East as well as some of those in the WCHA, are comprised predominantly of Canadians—whose hockey skills and ability are widely acknowledged. I am certainly not opposed to Canadians, but such practice is, in my opinion, extremely unfair to our own hockey players.
It is interesting to note that the professional Canadian Football League restricts the number of American "imports," and I would suggest that our colleges give serious consideration to reducing and limiting the number of hockey scholarships for Canadian boys and thus permit a greater number of American boys to play college hockey. If such action were taken, I believe that the quality and caliber of our Olympic hockey teams would be greatly improved in the near future. Although the caliber of our college teams would, in all likelihood, be affected for some time, I venture to say that within a comparatively few years such disadvantages would be far outweighed by the end results.
DONALD J. MYERS
I could easily write forever disproving the implications in your one-sided and slightly ignorant comments on the Russian hockey team's recent tour of Canada (SCORECARD, Jan. 4).
Of the 300,000 hockey players in Russia, the 18 comprising its team are the best 18 in the country. As for Canada's National team, I know there are few Canadians who can truly say that they are proud of its caliber. However, the reason for this poor caliber is that any promising hockey players in this country are scooped up at an early age by the NHL organizations, none of which seem willing to give them up, even temporarily, to represent their country. Consequently, the Russians, who have been playing as a team for years, look good against the Canadian National team, which is a team composed of the "leftovers," who have been playing together for only a matter of months.
As for your suggestion that a Russian team might come close to matching an NHL team, Clarence S. Campbell is not to blame for such a contest not having taken place. It was made impossible by a rule of the International Ice Hockey Federation, which forbids an amateur team to play a professional team without the express consent of this world amateur body. Agreement on this point will probably soon be reached, since the Russian players are professionals in reality, and I predict that within the next two years the Russians will play a pro team, maybe even an NHL team. If the game is played under European rules (which it should not rightly be, since it is they who are challenging us), the NHL team will probably win 8-2. Under Canadian hockey rules the pros will win 12-0.
ROCKS ON THE HEAD
After reading Mr. H. Malcolm Gillette's suggestions (19TH HOLE, Jan. 18), I feel it is only fitting to add a few more ideas to enhance the "boring" game of basketball. Keeping in line with Mr. Gillette's suggestions, why not have a revolving circular floor instead of the conventional, unmoving rectangular one to go along with Mr. Gillette's "swinging backboards." I'm sure we would then be insured of a low-scoring, "scientific" game.
If this doesn't do the trick, perhaps some five-pound rocks could be intermittently dropped from a platform above the basketball court to further allay Mr. Gillette's boredom!
The officials at the Big A had better pick up your boy Whitney Tower's pass after the way he went overboard on Santa Anita's mile track (Golden Days at the Dentist's. Jan. 11). Tell Whitney there are still some handicap horses left in the East. The good eastern race riders will depart Santa Anita when Hialeah opens.
As a $2 bettor who usually goes out to Arlington or Washington Park once a year and subsequently loses his shirt, your timely article on Santa Anita brought back some happy memories. Besides providing the $2 bettor with every thing he could dream of in the way of comfort, Santa Anita has another asset that Whitney Tower seems to have overlooked.
His name is Bud Baedeker, and he has picked more winners in one day than Tex Maule has in 10 years of fearless football forecasts. Thanks to Baedeker's Guide, I didn't come back to Chicago with a handful of "win" tickets in my pocket.
Most people go to the races to win, and Santa Anita is as great a place to try as any I have ever come across, especially with friendly Mr. Baedeker and his handy little Guide.
JOHN T. SHEAN
Clarendon Hills, Ill.