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Original Issue


I would like to add a couple of points not mentioned in Emmett Watson's article on the grizzly incidents in Glacier National Park (Menace in Our Northern Parks, Oct. 30). First, it came out after the incidents that it was customary for people to feed the bears at the chalets in the backcountry. I don't remember if the bears in question were grizzlies, but I think it is fair to say that if grizzlies in that vicinity became used to associating food with human habitation then they would be less wary of breaking into a camp. Such a situation, I think, would greatly increase the chances of attack, particularly if the bear were aroused or frightened. Bears that have lost their fear of man become especially dangerous.

Second, I think it is inevitable that as more and more pressure is put on back-country areas, i.e., greater visitation by hikers, more contacts will be made with the grizzly in his wilderness habitat. The only solution is the recognition of this fact by hikers and the use of extreme caution when traveling through these areas.
Berkeley, Calif.

In the future, when Mr. Watson undertakes to write about grizzly bears it might be of advantage to his readers if he would verify his facts. His reference to Hugh Glass being abandoned by four companions is inaccurate. Hugh Glass was abandoned by two companions, John Fitzgerald and Jim Bridger. When Glass recovered he found Bridger at Ashley's Fort on the Yellowstone and Bighorn rivers. He forgave Bridger, because it was Bridger's first trip West. Glass then pursued Fitzgerald to a fort on the Missouri River, where he also forgave him.

•Hugh Glass was a semilegendary figure, but unquestionably a great mountain man. Every detail of his life has been debated and questioned—except for the fact that he was attacked by a grizzly and abandoned by his companions.—ED.

I started very casually to look through Emmett Watson's article telling of the two girls killed by grizzly bears, but found it so absorbing and educational that I could not put it aside until I had finished it. The author and SI deserve special commendation. You may save others—otherwise unalerted—from being fatally mauled by grizzlies. The article should be carefully and widely read and its warning heeded.
New York City

As a recent student and self-proclaimed expert on the sport of boxing, I have read many tales of the exploits of the colorful heavyweights of a bygone era. By comparison, our recent "great," questionable citizen and braggart champion, and his somewhat less than articulate predecessor of shady background have led most of us fans to wish, in vain, for a return of those good old days with a hero we can look up to.

But wait! Today I saw something on television that compels me to write this. I saw a man with fantastic courage. A real man and a humble man. In fact, he has all the qualities that fans should look for in a hero. He has been laughed at, "punished," counted out in the ring and disregarded by the writers of his sport and life. There he stood today, the loser to Jerry Quarry by a decision that was booed by his opponent's home town crowd (They're Still Waiting for Jerry, Nov. 6). He stood above all the undeserved abuse and ridicule that has been heaped upon him. My hat is off to Mr. Floyd Patterson, a great boxer, great athlete and fine human being. I am proud to be living in his era.
Hamilton, Ohio

The Patterson-Quarry fight sank the World Boxing Association and California boxing to a new low. Not that the fight was a bad one. On the contrary, it was perhaps the most exciting of the so-called heavyweight championship eliminations. The only thing wrong was the judges' decision.

Although I am a former registered second in the State of Maine, I do not consider myself a boxing expert. But I can declare plainly that, no matter how many points were given to Quarry for his knockdowns, he could not conceivably have won that fight in a fair decision.
Mountain View, Calif.

I am Oscar Natalio Bonavena, Argentina's heavyweight boxing champion. As you know, I have the honor to participate in the world selection tournament organized by Sports Action Inc., under the surveillance of the World Boxing Association. I take part in it because I honestly believe that I will be the next world champion. This is what really encouraged me and makes me continue with more faith than ever.

There is something I would like to tell you before I go into the reason for this letter (the first I have written to a magazine editor in my three-year professional career). Every time I climb into the ring I think of the 20 million Argentines who believe in me, and so far I have not let them down—either by winning or losing—because I have always behaved correctly with my opponents and the public.

I must admit that it is true that I am flat-footed, though it seems that it is not my fault that this seems grotesque to Mark Kram, the author of the most offensive, inhuman and unfeeling report I have ever read about myself (A Bean-can Bout in Frankfurt, Sept. 25). There is a story about my feet that you should hear. These flat feet were what led me to boxing. When I was a child I was carried in my mother's arms to many different hospitals. Again and again the doctors told her they would try their best, but they could not guarantee results. For long months I lay in bed awaiting the results of different operations. As the other boys played soccer and ran on the sidewalk in front of my house I could only watch, hoping that someday I would be like them. Finally, I walked without apparent difficulty. That day I wanted to play soccer, but by then I had lost the chance to play like the others. The only alternative was to accept the fact of my lack of know-how. Many years later I found out that a doctor had told my mother that I had an inferiority complex, and it was necessary that I go to a gymnasium to try some other sport that a 15-year-old could learn. That is how I started boxing. I ask, is it fair to criticize me because of that physical defect? In any case, it is a fact that could have been used to praise my spirit.

Normally, I consider that the press is always fair. More so if it is SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, a serious and responsible magazine. But there have been several mistakes in my case. Not in the technical aspect, which I leave to the specialists, but in the personal facts that were mentioned. For instance, I never made fun of peaceful old people hearing a concert, from my window at the Kurhaus hotel in Bad Soden. I signed an agreement with Dr. Marvin Goldberg, which I respected faithfully. If there were disagreements, it was not because of unfulfillment but because of different points of view, to which I have every right. If I refused to work in Mr. Singer's restaurant kitchen, it is because I am a boxer and not a cook. Mr. Singer signed a contract with me to direct my boxing career and not a gastronomical future. It is also true that there were times when I returned home with an extra bag or a new pair of shoes, but that bag and those shoes were bought with the clean money I had earned in the ring. They were no present or gift from anybody.

Regarding the rest of that nasty report, I cannot add much more, because the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED reporter has not given objective facts to discuss. I do not think that comparing me with Ellis or Spencer can be something obscene. I admit that Mr. Kram can believe that I am not as good as any of them. That is just his opinion. My presentation card shows a categorical victory over Mildenberger, one of Clay's best rivals according to the general opinion of the world's press, in which I include that of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. I would have thought it brave and opportune if Mr. Kram had stated before the fight that Mildenberger was mediocre, or if he had said the same after Cassius Clay's magnificent victory.

Finally, I object to the despicable insinuation about my personality. The report clearly leads one to think that I am a clown. I am a professional, and I do my job. Clay does the same, and nobody, not even you, dares to call him a clown. Do I harm somebody by saying that I will win against this or that rival? Whom do I offend when I state that I will be the next world champion? Nobody, I am sure.
Buenos Aires

•Bonavena's doctor, Roberto Paladino, says that Oscar's feet were put in casts when he was 10 years old, but he has no record of any operations having been performed.—ED.

In Bob Ottum's recent article, Wee Jimmy's Big, Beautiful Win at the Glen (Oct. 9), he made an unfortunate and inaccurate reference to John Surtees' Honda being "serviced by a battalion of Japanese mechanics, one crew to each spark plug." Lest your readers get the idea that the Honda pit at the Glen was overrun with Japanese mechanics, we would like to point out that in reality there were only three working on the Honda Formula I racer. These were Yoshio Nakamura, director of Honda Research & Development Co., Ltd., and Teijiro Hagita and Haruo Kishi. In the future, if your writers need assistance in discerning the Japanese mechanics from the spectators we would be most happy to lend a slanted eye.