Battle of the Sexes

In September 1973, Bobby Riggs (once the world's top-ranked tennis player) challenged Billie Jean King, the reigning women's champion, to a historic 'Battle of the Sexes' match. "I want to set Women's Lib back twenty years, to get women back in the home where they belong," Riggs declared, adding that women are prettiest when they are barefoot, pregnant, doing housework, and taking care of the kids.

Though 34 years had passed since his last Wimbledon victory (in 1939), Riggs told reporters that innate male superiority would win the day. "I will scrape her up," he promised. "She is a woman and is subject to women's emotional frailties. She will crack up during the match."

Howard Cosell's blustery commentary lent the affair a Vegas-like atmosphere, as did King's entry: Riding into the Astrodome on a litter carried by garishly clad men, she presented Riggs with a live pig before the match; Riggs reciprocated by giving King a giant six-foot lollipop.

The result? In front of 39,000 people (the largest crowd in tennis history), King ran Riggs around the court, and thrashed him in straight sets (6-4, 6-3, 6-3).

[The episode was recreated in the ABC movie "When Billie Beat Bobby."]

["I love women," Riggs once declared. "I think every man should have two of them."]

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