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
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
"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
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