On this day 13 February 1999 (Exactly 20 years ago) Oscar De La Hoya passed what he called the toughest test of his career, getting up from a knockdown and twice knocking down Ike Quartey to retain the WBC welterweight championship on a split decision at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
De La Hoya clinched the win by storming out in the 12th round to knock down Quartey in just 12 seconds. The champion pummeled Quartey for the next minute before tiring in front of a crowd of about 12,000.Both fighters went down in the sixth round of a tremendous bout, one that compares with the welterweight showdown between Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns, which Leonard won in the 14th round in 1981. Both Leonard and Hearns were at ringside.
Judge Larry O’Connell of England scored it for Quartey 115-114. Judge John Keane of England scored it 115-113 and Ken Morita of Japan scored it 115-112, both for De La Hoya.
“I think the first real test of my boxing career,” the unbeaten De La Hoya said before the match. It certainly was.
IKE QUARTEY was returning from a 14-month absence from the ring – during which time proposed fights against Felix Trinidad and ‘Sweet Pea’ Pernell Whitaker had collapsed – to challenge Oscar De La Hoya for the WBC welterweight title .
THIS was viewed by many as the Golden Boy’s toughest test since he turned professional seven years earlier. They felt that De La Hoya’s perfect 29-0 record was filled with fighters who were either over the hill like Julio Cesar Chavez and Whitaker, too small like Rafael Ruelas and Genaro Hernandez, or simply too over-matched like Patrick Charpentier. Claude Abrams said in his preview for Boxing News: “We knew Leonard was good, but when he defeated Roberto Duran and then Hearns, we recognised his brilliance. Now it’s De La Hoya’s turn.”
QUARTEY, himself undefeated with a 34-0-1 record, had a legitimate claim to be the world’s best welterweight. A week later at Madison Square Garden, two other fighters with designs on the top spot were scheduled to meet for the IBF strap – Trinidad defending against Whitaker.
THE winners of these two bouts looked certain to meet each other later in the year for the right to claim welterweight supremacy in one of the richest fights in boxing history.
IKE appeared to take control of the first half of the fight with his speed and power. At the end of the third round, Quartey buckled De La Hoya with a pair of crunching left hooks.
In the sixth, De La Hoya went one better and floored his man with a left hook of his own – only for Quartey to repay the favour moments later. Bazooka then claimed the next two rounds, landing a particularly hard right hand in the ninth, before tiring and allowing Oscar back into the contest in the 10th and 11th
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.
“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.” said De La Hoya
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.
On this day 13 February 2000(Exactly 19 years ago) Cameroon won the African Nations Cup, beating co-hosts Nigeria 4-3 in a controversial penalty shoot-out after the teams had drawn 2-2 after extra time in Lagos . Victor Ikpeba’s fourth penalty for Nigeria appeared to cross the line before bouncing out of goal but was not awarded. The decision led to a third African crown for the Indomitable Lions, the previous two also coming with wins over Nigeria in the 1984 and 1988 finals.
Nigeria rode their luck throughout 120 minutes. They were twice saved by the woodwork and recovered from two goals behind to draw 2-2 in 90 minutes.
Cameroon stunned the co-hosts with two goals in a five- minute spell through Samuel Eto’o and Patrick Mboma. Each claimed their fourth goal of the tournament. Eto’o scored with a shot on the turn following a free kick from the right in the 26th minute. Mboma increased Cameroon’s lead after 31 minutes, scoring with a left-foot shot which went through the legs of Nigeria goalkeeper Ike Shorunmu. Cameroon were cruising at this stage, with Nigeria’s defence in disarray, and nearly went three ahead when Mboma headed against the post in the 37th minute.
It was a crucial miss as Raphael Chukwu scored to put Nigeria back in contention in first half injury time. Nigeria equalised two minutes after the break thanks to a rasping 30-metre drive by Austin Okocha, which flew into the top corner of the net.
Nigeria captain Sunday Oliseh was lucky not to be sent off for punching Geremi Fotso Njitap. He escaped with a yellow card, one of five players cautioned.
Nigeria – Raphael Chukwu 45, Austin Okocha 47
Cameroon – Samuel Eto’o 26, Patrick Mboma 31
Nigeria: 1-Ike Shorunmu; 21-Godwin Okpara, 5-Furo Iyenemi, 6-Taribo West, 3-Celestine Babayaro; 15-Sunday Oliseh, 8-Mutiu Adepoju (20-Victor Ikpeba, 96), 10-Austin Okocha, 7-Finidi George (13-Tijani Babangida, 70) ; 4-Nwankwo Kanu, 18-Raphael Chukwu (17-Julius Aghahowa, 46)
Cameroon: 1-Boukar Alioum; 4-Rigobert Song, 5-Raymond Kalla (13-Lucien Mettomo 93), 6-Pierre Njanka; 17-Marc-Vivien Foe, 3-Pierre Wome, 8-Geremi Fotso Njitap, 12-Laurent Mayer, 20-Salomon Olembe; 10-Patrick Mboma, 9-Samuel Eto’o (21-Joseph- Desire Job, 72)
Referee : Mourad Daami (Tunisia)