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Bruno on Boxing
Joe Bruno

April 15, 2000

Bruno on Boxing

By Joe Bruno- Former Vice President of the New York Boxing Writers and the International Boxing Writers

Obviously, Fernando Vargas beat up Ike Quartey Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas much worse than most people thought.

This was certainly a fight that should garner lots of votes for Fight of the Year. Yet, even though each round was jammed-packed with action, Vargas won the fight going away, repeatedly whipping Quartey around the ring like Emeril Live beats up a dozen eggs. Judge Glen Hamada had the fight much too close, scoring the bout, 114-113 (7-5 in rounds) for Vargas, while judges Dave Moretti and Jerry Roth had it, 116-111(9-3 in rounds). This reporter had it 117-110 (10-2 in rounds) for Vargas.

During the fight, when it was obvious to all Quartey was getting licked like a batch of Easter Seals, HBO's "Jumble" Jim Lampley, who is not known for his insightful analysis, told Larry "The Wig" Merchant, "I bet after the fight Quartey is going to say he got robbed of the decision."

So after the fight, there was Quartey, with puffy, black and blue eyes eye s, being interviewed by Merchant through an interpreter. Looking like any second he was going to break down and cry, Quartey said, "I don't know what to tell you. What fight did they (the judges) watch, 116-111 is too much. I don't know what to say.''

Well Alibi Ike, how about telling us the truth, like, "I got the spit kicked out of me tonight by a younger, faster and stronger fighter. I should've never gone up in weight to fight at 154 instead of my natural 147. And it might be smart for me to fight more than three times in three years."

For Vargas, a Mexican-American from Oxnard, California, this was his fourth title defense in only his 19th pro bout. After the fight he told Merchant the man he wanted to meet in the ring was WBA junior middleweight champion Felix Trinidad.

"I want to fight Trinidad. I'll show him how a real Mexican fights," said Vargas, obviously alluding to fellow Mexican-American Oscar de la Hoya's running around the ring like a scarred rabbit in the last three rounds of his controversial split decision loss to Trinidad.

Vargas also pointed out he had a much easier time with Quartey than Oscar did, when Oscar won a close 12-round split decision against Quartey in February 1999.

"I did a way better job against Quartey than de la Hoya,'' Vargas said. "Obviously, my fight wasn't close and de la Hoya's was. I showed just how great a fighter I am."

If the Trinidad-Vargas fight can't be made, the next great fight would be Vargas against de la Hoya, especially because there is so much genuine bad blood between the two. Vargas feels de la Hoya dissed him several times over the past few years, and is itching to make fried fowl of "Chicken" de la Hoya, a nickname given Oscar by boxing scribe Mike Katz.

But Oscar has to defend his welterweight title soon against former lightweight champ Shane Mosley, and is not a cinch to win that fight either. But win or lose against Mosley, Oscar can choose to go up in weight to fight Vargas, in a match that would pit the best two Mexican Americans presently in action.

The guess here is that Oscar has gotten too fat and too rich feasting on his own sitting ducks, and will retire from the ring rather than face Vargas, no matter what the outcome of this fight with Mosley, to make albums, or to act in movies. This is a much safer bet for Oscar, if he wants to keep his handsome face not looking like Ike Quartey's mug did last night in Las Vegas.


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