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"Mike Tyson disgraces himself and his sport"? How can one
dishonor two entities that have no honor?


Mike Tyson's saying that he bit off Evander Holyfield's ear to
protect his career because he has children to raise is an insult
to all single parents who struggle from paycheck to paycheck
(Feeding Frenzy, July 7). If Tyson is living paycheck to
paycheck with a $30 million payday, I suggest that he spend less
time partying and really tend to his kids.
MARE SHAFFER, Allentown, Pa.

To hear certain members of the media tell it, Tyson would be the
hands-down winner of the Dirtiest Fighter of All Time title.
However, Tyson doesn't come close to Mysterious Billy Smith,
two-time welterweight champion from Eastport, Maine, who in an
85-bout career lost by disqualification 10 times.

For example, in an 1896 fight Smith floored Billy Gallagher of
San Francisco in the first round and stomped on Gallagher's head
while he was down. The referee called the bout a draw and left
the ring.

In one of his six fights with Joe Walcott of Barbados (no
relation to the later heavyweight champion Jersey Joe Walcott),
Smith was caught by the referee biting the top of Walcott's
shaved head when Walcott screamed in pain. Before another
Smith-Walcott bout, Smith bragged to reporters, "I'll bite
Walcott's ears off!" Reminded that such an action would lead to
disqualification, Walcott replied, "Sure, but I'd rather have my
ears." Before an 1898 bout against Walcott, Smith had to put up
a $250 forfeit--a considerable chunk of change back then--on his
word not to commit any further atrocities upon Walcott.
STEVE NICOLAISEN, Antelope, Calif.

Just as Michael Irvin, Dennis Rodman and a host of others have
been given second, third and fourth chances, Mike Tyson will
also be given another chance. He makes too many people too much
money never to fight again.

As a Las Vegas local who serves up spirits and a slice of hope
to tourists, I appreciated the exposure the fight brought to my
city. Here, the more bizarre the event, the more financially
secure I become.
R.A. CONROY, Las Vegas


How wonderful to attend games of the WNBA, to see such
sportsmanship, enthusiasm and happy, involved fans (They Got
Next, June 30). The only frustrating part is seeing male
officials when there are so many well-qualified women referees.
PAT STANISLASKI, Hillsborough, N.J.

"Tipping off to large crowds and great expectations, the
hyper-hyped WNBA fell short only on the court." Only on the
court? Isn't that the only place that really matters? I was
appalled at the lack of fundamentals of these players. I have
seen better basketball by middle school boys. The WNBA can spend
millions on hype, but until it raises its skill level, all it
will be is a bunch of people floundering around on the court,
pretending to be a genuine pro league.


As much as I hate to admit it, interleague play is fun to watch
(Nice to Meet You, June 23). Anything that brings fans back to
the ballparks is O.K. with me. A perfect day for me was seeing
the Royals versus the Cubs and singing Take Me Out to the
Ballgame with Harry Caray and George Brett.
JERRY W. HARPER Lenexa, Kans.

The thrill of interleague play will go the way of the exercise
bicycle in the attic--great in the beginning but forgotten after
a few weeks when the novelty wears off. Baseball should be more
concerned with speeding up the game by increasing the
postage-stamp-sized strike zone, thus cutting down the number of
pitches thrown. It's boring to watch the pitcher and the catcher
playing catch.

Why can't baseball remain pristine? The owners, salivating over
making a few extra bucks, can always think up gimmicks, but the
game is the thing. No, volcanoes didn't erupt when the first
interleague pitch was thrown, but the game was dumbed down just
a little further. How sad.

COLOR PHOTO: DAVID E. KLUTHO Will the high-flying WNBA continue to live up to its hype? [Women basketball players in game]