Forrest at war with Ike Quartey. Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images
Many felt “The Viper” slithered his way out of this one.
On August 5, 2006, Vernon Forrest scored a controversial 10-round unanimous decision over Ike Quartey in a junior middleweight attraction at Madison Square Garden in New York. The official scores were 96-93, 95-94 and 95-94.
In a matchup of former welterweight kings, Forrest was installed as pre-fight favorite. Despite his obvious quality, Quartey had made just three ring appearances in six years and this was a sudden and significant step up in class.
On fight night, however, it was the “Bazooka” of old.
The Ghanaian boxer-puncher, who retired for five years following decision losses to Oscar De La Hoya and Fernando Vargas, executed his game plan to perfection. He walked Forrest down behind a high-held guard and chopped away at the openings with accuracy.
Forrest was busy, but he struggled to pierce Quartey’s defenses for the vast majority of the bout. His problems were then compounded when referee Arthur Mercante Jr. deducted a point from his score for a low blow in the ninth.
“You all saw the fight,” Quartey said at the post-fight press conference. “You can judge for yourself. I was ready for the fight.”
It should be pointed out that Forrest underwent surgery to his left rotator cuff two years earlier. Despite going on to win the WBC junior middleweight title twice, he could never maintain the same dominance that he displayed in his welterweight heyday.
“I thought I earned the decision,” Forrest said. “It was a hard fought decision, but I thought I earned it.”
Quartey fought just one more time, losing a wide decision to Winky Wright, before retiring for good in December 2006.