On February 13, 1999 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, WBC welterweight champion Oscar De La Hoya, from Los Angeles, California, defended his title against Ike Quartey, from Bukom, Ghana. Both fighters were undefeated coming in. De La Hoya was 29-0. Quartey was 34-0-1. The fight was scheduled for 12 rounds…
THE GOLDEN BOY needed a big round, and in a breathtaking 12th Oscar came out from the corner like a man possessed, flooring Quartey with a vicious left hook within seconds of the restart. De La Hoya punched himself out in search of the knockout but the durable Ghanaian threw enough punches to hear the final bell.
THE judges’ scores of 116-112 and 116-113 for De La Hoya compared with the 114-115 for Quartey gave the Golden Boy a close, controversial victory. After the fight, he said: “I made it a tactical fight. I wasn’t supposed to be like that. It was still one fight closer to making history. I want to prove I’m the best.”
QUARTEY could not understand how he was not awarded the victory. He said: “Oscar didn’t do anything for eight rounds. You saw the fight. He didn’t do anything. I matched him for speed and power. He came to survive. I’m too tough.”
INDEED, De La Hoya went on to face Trinidad later that same year at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. It would be De La Hoya who, after dominating the first half of the fight, dropped a controversial decision to Trinidad. Believing he had the fight won, Oscar got on his bike for the last few rounds, allowing Tito to take them and leave the last impression on the judges. If only he had come out for the 12th round like he did against Quartey.