April 17, 2000
Fernando Vargas retained his Jr. Welterweight IBF championship against former
WBA welterweight champion Ike Quartey Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay
Casino in Las Vegas. The fight's Promoters, Main Events billed the fight "2
Warriors, One War" and they delivered as promised an exciting evening of
boxing. The bout was a 12 round toe to toe, battle of the beasts.. And
although there were no knockdowns in the match the final bell brought the
sold out crowd of 6651 to their feet in a standing ovation for 12 rounds of
All too many matches of late have been a disappointment in one way or
another. The match, the quality of contenders, the doubt of accurate decision
making. But not so this night. This match was no disappointment on any count.
Vargas won by unanimous decision, 116-111 by judges David Moretti and Jerry
Roth both of Nevada and Judge Glenn Hamada of Washington scored the bout
114-113. The point spread does not give any indication the level of
competition in the ring or the shear excitement of this bout.
Vargas was clearly the dominator of the bout throughout. And although
Quartey was relentless and skillful, he just didn't throw as many punches nor
land as many as Vargas. Compubox inc. Tallied the punch stats as Vargas 909
total punches thrown to Quartey's 645. Most of Quartey's effort was
reserved for the final moments of each round. If Ike had maintained that
same level of aggressiveness throughout the round instead of reserving his
furious flurries for the last few moments of each round, he could very well
have won this fight.
Quartey continued to come forward as Vargas picked him apart, round after
round. Quartey just was not able to establish any momentum. Quartey's best
moment came in the 9th round when he delivered a textbook straight right to
Vargas' face sending Vargas' mouthpiece flying. Referee, Joe Cortez called a
time out to replace his mouthpiece. Vargas' corner took the opportunity to
wash off the mouthpiece and while the ref had his back turned took the
opportunity to give his fighter a drink of water. Quartey stayed in a
neutral corner waiting to finish the job. Quartey was unable to resume the
momentum. Perhaps instead of staying in the neutral corner waiting to pick up
where he left off he should have run over to his corner for a drink of water.
(But that wouldn't be right, would it?).
Vargas was outstanding. He remained poised and in control for most of the
fight. Except for the 4th round when Ref. Joe Cortez deducted a point for a
low blow after warning him 3 times. He lost composure for a moment in the
12th round, when he stepped into a right hand that landed on the chin. Vargas
tried to show Quartey the punch had no effect and so he offered his chin
again for another. (Perhaps that punch had damaged him more than he thought.)
However, this exchange came once again in the final moments of the round and
the bout ended. Vargas immediately ran to one corner and stepped up on the
ropes, hands raised in the air in victory and pointed to his belt indicating
his nickname "Ferocious".
When the decision was read, Quartey was standing in the corner with his head
down, his face battered, his right eye swollen almost shut. He stated
afterward he was disappointed and thought the fight was much closer than the
judges had scored. It is understandable that he would be disappointed. It was
clear he came to fight and certainly put out every effort. He gave his all.
It was also clear that he was out-boxed, out-classed, out right over shadowed
and out done, by the
"Ferocious" Fernando Vargas.
Vargas is the man to watch. Camp Vargas is hopeful for a unification title
bout with Felix Trinidad. Don King was ringside for the match and there is
talk of a bout between the two this summer, but nothing is definite yet.
Certainly, boxing fans will be looking forward to seeing more of "Ferocious"
Fernando Vargas. He may preen and prance with showman-like drama in feathered
costumes and spew his share of trash talk, that in of itself will not earn
him much. But, if he continues to deliver the real show of style and skill in
the ring as he did Saturday night, he will definitely earn more than his
$1.35 million pay day. He'll earn the respect of the fans and quite possibly
a place in the boxing the Hall of Fame.