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15.10.2004 Sports News

Can Ike Quartey Emulate Trinidad’s Example?

By Nathaniel Attoh

The world middleweight division of boxing is about to experience a major shake-up with the presence of big names like Oscar De La Hoya, Felix “Tito” Trinidad, Ike Quartey and Current Champion Bernard “the executioner” Hopkins.

The recently defeated “Golden Boy” Oscar De La Hoya will need to do a thorough reassessment and put his house in order to make a comeback. There is a possibility that the six-time champion may retire because his performance in his last fight was enough evidence that he had lost touch with his prime.

If he does, then he will certainly retire a dissatisfied man, especially after his painful loss to Hopkins. But it is not advisable to make any hasty conclusions about his career because he can bounce back any day, and no one knows what his immediate plans are. Even his rival Ike Quartey thinks he is still a good boxer and is capable of recapturing a title.

Perhaps Puerto Rican Felix “Tito” Trinidad's stunning defeat of Ricardo Mayorga was one of the most impressive fight results in recent times. Impressive in the sense that without any tune-up fight and a glaring two-year absence from the ring, “Tito” outclassed Mayorga to record an eighth round knockout on October 2.

What seems to have done the trick for Trinidad was his health- conscious lifestyle during the two-year hiatus. For Ricardo Mayorga, he will have to settle the sexual assault charges levelled against him back home before considering the next step of his career.

An Associated Press report quoted 31-year-old Trinidad pugilist as saying “I don't believe in tune up fights, I prefer hard, tough fights, I look for the toughest opponents”. “Tito” gained a lot of popularity in 1999 when he defeated De La Hoya. He lost in a 12-round fight to current champion Hopkins in September 2001 in New York.

The big question being asked by many boxing fans in the world is why he never fought Ike “Bazooka” Quartey; was it probably because he feared the “Bazooka's” dreaded lethal right jab ? Only God knows!Trinidad has made his intentions of a rematch with Hopkins clear.He is not only hungry for a title, but is also looking for a sweet revenge. Another boxer who has the potential to cause a major upset is European and Commonwealth welterweight champion, Howard Eastman.

He is highly tipped to win his scheduled WBC title fight against American Jermain Taylor. Whoever wins that fight may face Hopkins.“Prodigal Son Ike “Bazooka” Quartey is also one of the lads looking forward to stripping Bernard “the Executioner” Hopkins of his title. Unlike Trinidad, Quartey has planned two tune-up fights before attempting any major bout.

The former WBA welterweight champion took a three-year leave from the ring after his last defeat to Fernando Vargas in 2001. He earlier lost to De La Hoya in 1999 in his first ever 12-round bout.The former champion's decision came as a surprise to many since it was perceived that he had ended his career in the pugilistic sport. Ike also says he feels that fire in him to fight now, more than any other time in his life.

If Trinidad's dramatic return is anything to go by, then the one-time swift-punching Bazooka of boxing will record wins in his two tune-up fights. Sceptics think his fun-packed lavish lifestyle may serve as a serious setback to his planned return. But his new lease of determination might just carry him through. For now, Ghanaians are waiting to know the results of his negotiations in the U.S.A.

Current undisputed IBF and WBA middleweight champion, Bernard Hopkins, is looking forward to making a 20th successive defence of his title, come January. If statistics are anything to go by, then one can confidently say that the “Executioner” will have a smooth walk over his next opponent. His consistency and replenished power in all his fights are a testimony to his calibre.

Hopkins, now the hottest commodity in the middleweight class, will have the luxury of selecting from a wide range of opponents for his twentieth defence. He is undoubtedly an object of envy in the boxing worldFor now, boxing enthusiasts have high expectations in the middleweight class; new rivalries will be created and old ones rekindled.

Ghanaians have one wish: and that is for their once-feared world champion to make a successful return and recapture a title since the country cannot boast of any current champion. None disputes the fact that it will be an arduous task, but with determination the “Bazooka” is sure to move mountains.

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