Today in History: Fernando Vargas handed Ike Quartey his 2nd defeat (video)

On April, 15, 2000, Ike Quartey lost the second bout of his career by unanimous decision against American Fernando VargaS in his challenge for the latter’s IBF junior middleweight title at the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

Vargas

Two of the judges, Dave Moretti and Jerry Roth had Vargas winning by 116-111. The third, Glen Hamada, made it 114-113. And it was the first two that Ike directed his anger and disappointment at as he stormed out of the ring, retiring early to bed and not bothering to be at the post-fight press conference.

This fight was dubbed, Two Warriors - One War. It lived up to the billing and almost everybody who watched it, including Don King, the famous American promoter, absolutely concurred after it was all over. Hamada, who gave Ike five rounds, represented the reality.

The fight was that close and perhaps Quartey suffered his only second career loss in 36 fights largely because of his 15-month lay-off. His reflexes slowed down considerably and in the trenches his opponent threw more punches, even though the Ghanaian took a lot of them on his gloves or blocked them effectively.

Even more remarkably was the fact that Ike's most potent weapon, the piston-like jab, wasn't much in evidence, particularly in the middle rounds when he needed it to break down the resistance of the 22-year-old undefeated champion and set him up for a knock-down.

The final punch statistics provided by Comp Box Inc. might not be the most accurate but it gave a fair idea of how the fight went.

It showed that Vargas threw 909 total punches as against 645 by Quartey. While the champion landed 389, his challenger had 272 recorded, representing 43 per cent and 42 per cent respectively.

In the jabs category, Vargas was credited with connecting 132 out of 303 as against 122 out of 290 by Quartey, again representing 43 per cent and 42 per cent.

Whilst that went further to show how close the fight was, Ike's trainer, Oko Odamtten suggested he was perhaps frustrated by the tactics of the champion.

"Unlike De La Hoya, Vargas was more mobile, moving from side to side and thus making it difficult for Ike to throw the jab," he explained.

The Ghanaian established the pattern of the fight from the first bell as he chased after his opponent who appeared prepared for this and fought back while back-pedalling.

As the largely pro-Vargas 6,631 sold-out crowd cheered widely, the champion took the first round. But early in the second round, he revealed the other side of his fighting repertoire as he caught Quartey with a low blow. Cortez motioned that he should keep it up but when Vargas delivered a hefty low punch in the third, he was penalised with a point deduction by the referee who significantly failed to act in subsequent similar infractions while pointing out a couple by Ike.

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