I'm an avid boxing fan, but I'm sorry that men have to earn money by stepping into the ring and risking their lives just to please thousands of people, including me. That feeling was intensified by the Ray Mancini-Duk Koo Kim fight (Then All the Joy Turned to Sorrow, Nov. 22).
The death of Duk Koo Kim makes it clear that boxing should adopt headgear and more heavily padded gloves.
Willow Street, Pa.
Why don't we require headgear and heavier gloves in boxing? Dulled foils and masks take nothing away from fencing. The art of boxing doesn't need physical destruction to be entertaining.
That Duk Koo Kim lost his life in the 14th round and that Alexis Arguello could have, too, in his fight with Aaron Pryor the night before, leads me to conclude that 10 rounds should be the maximum length of any bout. Research into deaths in the professional ring—those of Ernie Schaaf [who collapsed in the 13th round while fighting Primo Camera] and Benny Paret [who was knocked out in the 12th by Emile Griffith] come to mind—might support my conclusion. In any case, the defensive ability of boxers obviously diminishes in the later rounds of a long fight. The boxing world should consider this reform now.
I was shocked by what I observed on my television in the aftermath of the Ray Mancini-Duk Koo Kim fight. The tragic death of Kim left me gasping and trying to justify the "sport" of boxing.
Injuries are part of many sports. Even in such limited-contact ones as skiing and baseball, serious injuries—and, in isolated cases, death—are unfortunate elements of the game. However, these sports have other objectives: to ski faster, to score more runs. The implicit objective in boxing is to injure the opponent.
Thank you and Ralph Wiley for a candid article describing the terrible loss that resulted from the Mancini-Kim bout. I think that the time has come for the fans and those involved in the promotion and administration of boxing to take a deep look inside themselves and question whether the positive aspects of boxing outweigh the negative. In my view, the answer is clearly no.
ROBERT J. LURIE
Sugar Ray Leonard has a good head on his shoulders. I'm glad he decided to keep it that way by retiring.
Kansas City, Mo.
Boxing isn't a sport, it's legalized violence. There is no such thing as civilized fighting, just as there are no good wars. Suspend boxing? No. Outlaw it!
MARIE R. WATSON, R.N.
I was shocked and appalled by your cover. Why depict something such as this? The death of Duk Koo Kim was tragic enough without your graphically portraying the final blow on the cover of a national magazine. In this instance, I feel that you have shown a lack of good judgment, a lack of common decency and a disrespect for human dignity.
GLENN F. HURST