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Quartey Loses Controversial Decision; Ouma Outclasses Powell
NEW YORK — Ike Quartey lost a controversial unanimous 10-round decision to Vernon Forrest in an important crossroads battle of two former welterweight champions at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
Most observers felt Quartey (37-3-1, 31 KOs) dominated Forrest (38-2, 28 KOs) and deserved the victory. The event entitled “Now or Never” was broadcast on HBO.
“It was a lousy fight,” Quartey said. “He [Forrest] was running. I thought I won the fight. I am disappointed this time. All the fans thought I won the fight. I was ready for this fight. I was training since January.”
According to CompuBox, Forrest threw more punches (818 – 481) but Quartey landed more (201-184). Also, Quartey’s percentage of total punches connected nearly doubled Forrest’s output (42% to 22%).
“This was a disappointing night you could have,” said Quartey’s promoter, Lou DiBella said. “I was extremely shocked by the closeness of this fight. How could be scores be so close? When I heard Vernon Forrest, I thought I was hallucinating.”
All three judges had Forrest winning the decision by scores of 96-93 and 95-94 (twice). Forrest won rounds 7, 8, and 9 on all three judges’ scorecards. Despite a point deduction in the ninth after Forrest landed a low-blow, Forrest surprisingly had a comfortable lead on the scorecards.
Quartey appeared to have been the more accurate puncher. He landed solid left jabs and kept Forrest missing often while fighting backward. Although Forrest threw jabs, he did not look as comfortable or as sharp as Quartey. Forrest was also docked one point in the ninth round for landing a low-blow.
“It happened with De La Hoya, Lopez, and again here tonight,.” DiBella added. He was referring to Quartey’s controversial decision loss to Oscar De La Hoya in February 1999.
Quartey, then WBA welterweight champion, appeared to have been beating De la Hoya to the punch with his left jab and even knocked De La Hoya down early in the fight. Although De La Hoya knocked Quartey down in the sixth and twelfth rounds, the fight was a very close battle.
De La Hoya was Quartey’s first opponent following a 16-month absence following a disputed draw against Jose Luis Lopez in October 1997.Quartey was awarded majority decision victory although was knocked down twice. An apparent victory was later changed to a majority draw.
Following the loss to De La Hoya, Quartey would not fight again for another 14 months before losing to Fernando Vargas in an epic slugfest in April 2000.
Forrest was Quartey’s fourth opponent since his 2005 return from a 5-year absence since the Vargas fight.
When asked if Quartey, now 35, was going to quit boxing following another frustrating defeat in a high-profile fight, DiBella said: “He’s going to keep fighting. You have to keep asking yourself ‘why do these things keep happening on high profile fights on television?”
Boxing is the sport that has had its share of bad decisions through the years. Famous Examples include:
– Michael Spinks’ upset of Larry Holmes to win the IBF heavyweight championship in 1985.
– Pernell Whitaker’s superb boxing performance against Julio Cesar Chavez was ruled a draw.
– Felix Trinidad was awarded a majority decision against Oscar De La Hoya, who dominated Trinidad for more than two-thirds of their epic welterweight showdown in 1999.
– Of course, Lennox Lewis’ 12-round draw in perhaps the most controversial heavyweight championship fight in history against Evander Holyfield in 1999 at Madison Square Garden.
Each of the fight mentioned above were high profile, big money fights. Although Quartey-Forrest was not nearly as large as these fights mentioned it was still a bad decision. Larry Holmes’ split decision victory against Maurice Harris at The Garden’s Theater was a bad decision.
DiBella added: “He won!” This was not a title fight. The game plan will be the same as if he won the fight. He did win the fight!”
According to DiBella, Quartey could share an HBO Boxing broadcast date with world middleweight champion Jermain Taylor in December. Perhaps a rematch with Forrest, who praised the judges after the fight, could be next for Quartey.
“New York has always treated me well,” Forrest said referring to his victories of Quartey and a 2002 unanimous decision over Sugar Shane Mosley in 2002. “This is the fairest place.”
Forrest added: “I always thought I had a great jab,” Forrest said afterward. “His best punch is his jab. My game plan was to offset his jabs and frustrate him. They say he won a word championship with his jab. I knew I couldn’t out-jab him. But my overall game was better.”
Forrest following two consecutive victories over Mosley gained increased fame and popularity ion the boxing community. That was until he was KO’d by Ricardo Mayorga the following year.
At 35 and coming off injuries to his left and right shoulders, the clock is ticking for Forrest who seeks one last world title fight.
In the co-feature: Former world junior middleweight champion Kassim Ouma (25-2-1, 15 KOs) remained undefeated during his quest to fight for a world championship again. Ouma simply outworked hometown favorite and undefeated junior middleweight prospect, Sechew Powell (20-1, 12 KOs) winning a 10-round unanimous decision.
“It was a good performance,” Ouma said afterward. “I predicted KO, but I didn’t go for the KO. I just wanted to show what I could do in his hometown.”
The 27-year-old Ouma of Kampala, Uganda, pitched a near shutout against Powell, a 27-year-old native of Brooklyn, NY. Ouma was the busier fighter from the opening round. He was able to establish his jab early in the bout and successfully followed through with right-left combinations.
Ouma had an easy time out punching Powell on the inside. Powell appeared to have been off-balanced before and after he threw his punches. In fact, Ouma kept Powell fight backward against the ropes for much of the fight. Ouma definitely appeared to be the more seasoned and polished professional.
“He lost,” DiBella said of Powell’s performance. “It was a good learning fight for him. He’ll take from this to be a better fighter. He fought a guy that was a little busier. He backed up too much. He was very tentative”.
All three judges scored the bout 100-90, 97-93, and 96-94 for Ouma.
In a non-televised bout, super middleweight prospect Jaidon Codrington (12-1, 10 KOs) of Queens, NY, won a six-round unanimous decision against former world 154-pound champion Carl Daniels (49-10-1, 31 KOs). The scores were 60-54 on the three judges’ scorecards.
Codrington established himself as a New York-favorite as a regular under under DiBella Entertainment’s Broadway Boxing series. Codrington began his pro career in June 2004 and won his first 9 fight by KO.
His only loss was a KO defeat to Allan Green in November 2005. The fight lasted only 18 seconds. Since the loss to Green, Codrington is 3-0, 1 KO.
“He’s getting better and more comfortable with each fight,” DiBella said of his super middleweight prospect.
On selection of a former world champion in a six-round contest, DiBella said: “A six-round fight with Jaidon, we’re taking it slow. We want to get him to get his legs under him again. Daniels is a professional and versatile in the ring, and will not back down.”
In other bouts: Welterweight prospect Andre Berto (14-0, 12 KOs) knocked out Roberto Valenzuela (37-25-2, 33 KOs) in 2:19 of the first round.
Punchin’ Pat Nwamu (12-1, 4 KOs) earned a third round stoppage of John Battle (14-17-1) at 2:50.
Junior welterweight Darling Jimenez (20-2-2, 11 KOs) stopped Arturo Brambila (8-8) in the first round. The official time was 2:32.
Female bantamweight beauty, Noriko Kariya (5-1-1) won a four rounder over Michelle Herron (1-3).