The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire
|JASON CHRISTIAN: WELTER WEEK|
|It was a week that every fight fan had eagerly
anticipated. After years of delays, court dates, cuts, suspensions, and general
frustration, the four best welterweights in the game got together to decide who was the
For a brief shining moment, the world of boxing was not about bogus belts, or those detestable mandatory defenses. Not even Mike Tyson. For just a few days, boxing recaptured the magic of days gone by as quality champions took on top challengers.
DE LA HOYA OWNS TOWN
The week started out on Saturday, February 13th in Sin City. What better place than Las Vegas for the Glamour Boy to make his first defense against a first real threat in Ike Quartey. Allthough going in the popular opinion had Oscar beating Quartey, while a growing number of those in the know were of the opinion that Oscar would get licked. After all Ike was the harder puncher with that thunderous left jab.
NOT TYPICAL DLH
Even Oscar appeared unsure, as he talked publicly about how Quartey could knock him out if he wasn't careful. As for the challenger, Ike was disturbingly focused and boldly declared that he would destroy the popular champion. The stage was finally set, and after months of planning and waiting, it was time to fight.
Inside the Thomas & Mack Center, the atmosphere was electric and the feminine screams were deafening as if it were John, Paul, George, and Ringo taking center stage. Without a definitive fight on his record, many viewed Oscar as a pretty boy whose boxing career had been something of a farce. This would be his chance to change that perception.
BUG EYED PAIR
The first few rounds went as they do in many fights of this magnitude. While there were a couple of brief periods in which Ike and Oscar really mixed it up, each man was reluctant to take many chances, choosing instead to play it safe.
Quartey worked almost exclusively with the heavy jab he's known for. And although it did land at times, too often it was short, or picked off by Oscar.
In the fourth and fifth rounds, the pace slowed even more, and the crowd began to get antsy. Were these two competitors going to just look at each other all night?
In the sixth round, both fighters woke up and remembered what those gloves on their hands were for. De La Hoya came out and quickly put Ike on the canvas with a short left hook. Ironically though, it was Quartey who was energized by the knockdown, and fifty seconds later Ike put Oscar down with an even shorter left.
Oscar was back on his feet immediately, but was clearly stunned. And Ike jumped on him, nailing Oscar with two more booming left hands.
SAVED HIS BACON
Then the two got tied up, and Ike hit Oscar on the break causing referee Mitch Halpern to call time to warn Quartey. It was only a few seconds, but that break in the action gave De La Hoya enough time to get his head back together and avoid being knocked out.
Rounds seven through nine belonged to Quartey. Although Oscar had managed to escape disaster in round six, the knockdown and subsequent punishment had taken something out of him. Ike's bazooka-like jab was now landing consistently, and he was now willing to throw big right hands behind it, landing an especially heavy right hander in round nine.
The fight's momentum was obviously on Ike's side now, and Oscar seemed unable to do anything about it.
SHOWED STUFF AS IKE LOUNGED
Then something happened that many skeptics thought was impossible. Oscar dug down and summoned his champion's heart. As a fighter Oscar was for the first time close to defeat, and that fear in turn moved him to prove his intestinal fortitude. Whatever it was, De La Hoya entered the final quarter of the bout like a man determined to keep what was his.
In the 10th and 11th rounds, Oscar was landing with multiple power punches. Especially in the 10th when Ike was wobbled with a sneaky left early, followed by a big left hook later on.
FINAL ROUND A BEAUTY
Ah, and then there was that magical final round. De La Hoya knocked Quartey down 12 seconds into the round with a looping left hook. He then began whacking Ike with huge lefts and rights as only the ropes held him up. Somehow, Quartey remained upright and actually stunned Oscar with a few punches.
RALLY DIDN'T LAST THAT LONG
With about 1:45 left, both guys were done. It really didn't matter though as the crowd had been whipped into a frenzy by the flurry De La Hoya unleashed. When the final bell sounded, both men raised their arms victoriously. After a slow start, Oscar and Ike proved why they are two of the best.
However, in the end I agreed that Oscar deserved to win as my card had the scrap 114-113 for Oscar. That being said, I would find it hard to argue with anyone who saw Ike the victor.
JURISTS AFFECTED BY OSCARMANIA
Judges John Keane and Ken Morita, who had the Golden Boy up 116-113 and 116-112, were clearly out of line with their lopsided tallies. However, to let that scar this event would be short sighted. In a perfect world (which this is not) these two would be getting it on again, and real soon.
ACT II A WEEK LATER
New York City was the scene for part two of "Welter Week." This time Madison Square Garden was the place to be. Before the Quartey-De La Hoya bout, ticket sales for Trinidad-Whitaker were slow. However, the drama produced in Vegas led people to quickly gobble up most of the remaining tickets for the card.
DON KING, MSG, & HBO HYPE FIGHT WELL
Momentum had been built up as the various daily newspapers fueled the fire for six straight days. But would a fight involving an aging Whitaker be able to continue the good times? The answer turned out to be a resounding "Yes!"
Now, it is important to realize that the circumstances here were different than in Vegas. This was the less glamorous event of the two. Trinidad, although unbeaten and the IBF champion, is greatly respected within the boxing world. But he is unknown to other than the avid fan for the most part.
MILK CARTON KID
And he had be inactive for nearly 11 months, leaving those who did know Tito wondering where he would was and how well he could perform after the layoff. Whitaker on the other hand was coming off a 16 month layoff that included a drug suspension and two rehabs.
With the large Puerto Rican contingent, the Garden crowd was clearly Trinidad's, just as Vegas had been for Oscar.
STAGE SET IN OPENER
Much to everyone's surprise, there was no feeling out process in the contest as Trinidad and Whitaker went at each other right away. I felt that Trinidad got the better of Sweet Pea in round one based on his edge in power. And it was clear that the "one time" defensive wiz had been replaced by an old man who was not even a reasonable facsimile of a "prime" Whitaker.
Round two started off in much the same way, although Whitaker was doing some good work early. Then Tito showed why he deserves the attention that a top prize fighter commands. A lightning quick lead right landed on Whitaker's jaw and sent him to the seat of his pants.
LIKE A SPONGE
For a man who made a living off of not being hit, being knocked down so early was the last thing that Pernell could have been expected. But it didn't stop there. For the next four rounds, it was more of the same as Trinidad punished the smaller man with right leads.
In fact, Trinidad landed it with such accuracy that it seemed more like a jab. The entire arsenal, meaning the jab, hooks, and the uppercuts were also landing with regularity. To his credit, Whitaker
would try and fire back.
WHIPPED PRETTY GOOD
Despite Pernell's continuing efforts to battle, he ended up taking what was certainly the worst beating of his career. Having been dropped, then staggered a few more times, Pernell even sat down two or three times in order to avoid Trinidad's jack hammer right.
DON'T WATCH THE MOUTH
After the fight, despite what he may have said in his post-fight interview through his busted jaw, Pea's body language told us that he had been defeated for the first time. There is no shame involved as Whitaker was simply beaten by a younger, faster, and stronger fighter.
Why is it I see Trinidad being the class of this welterweight division? It can be argued that although Trinidad was more dominant in his win that De La Hoya, Oscar had to deal with a much tougher foe. But it's not just their recent fights.
THE AURA OF TITO TRINIDAD
My feelings about Trinidad's divisional dominance go beyond physical skills. It's more about attitude and confidence. Watch Felix closely and he looks like a man who was born to fight in the squared circle. And most importantly, he knows it.
His punches are delivered straight and with a smooth fierceness that I don't always see from De La Hoya. Oscar too often looks perplexed and awkward, and seems unsure when it comes to connecting the dots.
The look on his face as he entered the ring against Quartey was that of a man with doubts after having said that Ike might knock him out. Adding to that, for the few rounds occurring after Ike hurt him, Oscar had stopped fighting.
FAREWELL TO PERNELL
Having said all of that, I still think that, with the exception of Pernell Whitaker, all of the welterweights came out looking better than they did prior to "Welter-Week."
MADE HIS BONES
Oscar may have finally proved his manhood to the doubters. Quartey made his name that of a household one, exhibiting the skills that a mere few knew he had. Felix also gained some much needed exposure, as he shined brightest.
THE JUNIOR CLASS
All that we die hard fight fans can do is hope that these three will continue to fight each other, while also giving a chance to up-and-comers like WBA guy James Page and Vernon Forrest to prove that they belong in the mix as well.
In the end, when the best fight the best, everybody wins.
Note: The writer is making is making his debut at www.fighters.com He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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