Today In History: Fernando Vargas beat Ike Quartey to defend IBF belt

TIH 1.jpeg?fit=275%2C184&ssl=1 The defeat was Ike's second loss in his career at the time

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 Source: www.etvghana.com

On 15 April 2000 (some 21 years ago) Fernando Vargas, looking like a ring veteran at the age of 22, defended his IBF junior middleweight title by pounding out a hard-fought but unanimous 12-round decision over Ghana's Ike Quartey.

Vargas was the stronger and bigger punching fighter in the late rounds as he followed Oscar De La Hoya’s lead to hand Quartey only his second defeat in a 12-year pro career.

There were no knockdowns in the fight, which was fought at a furious pace as Vargas tried to get inside Quartey’s jab and turn the bout into a brawl. He succeeded at times, particularly late in each round when the fighters often went toe-to-toe as the bell sounded.

Judges Dave Moretti and Jerry Roth had Vargas winning 116-111, and Glen Hamada had him ahead 114-113. The Associated Press had Vargas winning 115-112.

It was the second straight decision loss for Quartey, the former welterweight champion who dropped a split decision to De La Hoya when the two met 14 months earlier.

Vargas, who has fought in De La Hoya’s shadow, said the win in only his 19th pro fight proved that he was better than De La Hoya.

“My fight wasn’t close with Quartey and De La Hoya’s was,” Vargas said. “I think I proved something.”

Vargas (19-0, 17 knockouts) landed more punches than Quartey – 389 to 272 according to CompuBox ring statistics – but Quartey scored well with his left jab through much of the fight.

“His jab got to me a bit but I came right back at him,” Vargas said.

The loss was another bitter pill for Quartey, who bitterly disputed his loss to De La Hoya and was just as unhappy with the scoring against Vargas.

“I’m very upset about the decision,” said Quartey, of Ghana. “It was not 116-111. What fight were they watching?”

It was the fourth defense of the 154-pound title for Vargas, who won it at the age of 21 in only his 15th pro fight.

And Quartey gave him all he could handle, stalking Vargas throughout the fight and using his left jab to keep the champion off balance.

Vargas won the last three rounds on two ringside scorecards, though, finding his way inside to land short combinations to the head. Quartey, his right eye swelling, seemed to tire in the final rounds.

“Once I landed some solid shots he opened up a bit,” Vargas said.

Vargas entered the fight as a 2-1 favorite over Quartey (34-2-1), who was fighting for the first time as a junior middleweight.

The 30-year-old Quartey hadn’t fought since losing a controversial split decision to De La Hoya 14 months earlier for the welterweight title. Before that, he hadn’t fought in 16 months.

Vargas earned $1.35 million, while Quartey was paid $1.25 million.

Bout Summary

Date: 2000-04-15

Location: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Referee: Joe Cortez

Judge: Glen Hamada 114-113

Judge: Jerry Roth 116-111

Judge: Dave Moretti 116-111

International Boxing Federation Junior Middleweight Title (4th defending of Vargas)

Weights: Quartey 152 lbs, Vargas 153.5 lbs

Promoter: Main Events

Doctors: Flip Homansky, James Game, Jeff Davidson, Margaret Goodman

Source: www.etvghana.com