Quartey, Forrest To Meet In A Crossroads Bout

By Francis Walker
Updated: June 14, 2006

Vernon Forrest

Vernon Forrest

Ike Quartey

Ike Quartey

NEW YORK — Later this summer, a pair of former world welterweight champions will battle each other in what appears to be a crossroads fight. Ike Quartey (37-2-1, 31 KOs) will fight Vernon Forrest (37-2, 28 KOs ) on August 5 at The Theater in Madison Square Garden.

The winner will remain a viable contender in the 154-pound weight division with possible fights against Sugar Shane Mosley, Fernando Vargas, Jermain Taylor, Edison Miranda, Floyd Mayweather on the horizon in 2006-07.

The loser could possibly be approaching the end of their prizefight career on the championship-level much sooner than anticipated.

In the late 1990s, Quartey of Accura, Ghana, emerged as one of the welterweight divisions’ top attractions. He won the WBA welterweight championship in June 1994.

Quartey had seven successful defenses before losing his title in a unification bout at 147 in February 1999 to then WBC champion, Oscar De La Hoya, via split decision.

A distraught Quartey would remain inactive for more than 14 months before losing to a 12-round decision to Fernando Vargas for the IBF junior middleweight championship in April 2000. A frustrated Quartey would quit boxing.

During Quartey’s five-year absence (2000-05), Forrest, of Atlanta, GA, emerged as a rising star. The man who De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad did not want to fight, Forrest achieved stardom in January 2002 at the Garden Theater.

Forrest stunned the boxing community by battering Sugar Shane Mosley during a one-sided 12-round, unanimous decision to capture the WBC welterweight title.

Forrest would beat Mosley in a rematch during the summer of 2002, but was never the same fighter once Ricardo Mayorga KO’d him in three rounds to unify the WBA/WBC welterweight championship in January 2003.

In the rematch in the summer of 2003, Forrest looked tentative and frightened during a 12-round decision loss to Mayorga.

It will be very interesting to see if Quartey and Forrest, both 35, decide to fight aggressively or take a cautious approach.

With both fighters at the crossroads of what has been a very successful comeback for both fighters in 2005, it should be a very revealing bout as to which fighter is more committed to risk losing.

Quartey is 3-0, 2 KOs since his return in January ’05. Forrest is 2-0, 2KOs and is eyeing another title shot.