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05.12.2005 Sports News

Can ‘Bazooka’ Quartey Explode At 154 In 2006?

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Ike 'Bazooka' Quartey pounded out a 10 round TKO victory over a tough, but outclassed Carlos Bojorquez on Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. He thoroughly dominated the first 9 ½ rounds before referee Joe Cortez correctly stopped the fight due to accumulated punishment. At the time of the stoppage, it was a landslide with Quartey landing 52% of his shots compared to Bojorquez landing at an 11% clip.

Three fights into his current comeback, Quartey looks like a man who is beginning to shed some of the ring rust from a five year layoff. He looked very sharp with his trademark stinging jab that connected on the slower Bojorquez throughout the night. Bojorquez hit Quartey with many solid right hands that didn't seem to faze Quartey in the least. This was a far cry from his previous performance a few months back against Verno Phillips where he was wobbled and put on the canvas, but rose to win a close decision. His most recent performance begs the question, “can Ike Quartey become a champion again?”

This writer believes that in today's thin Jr. Middleweight division, the answer is a resounding “yes!” Let's face it, the 36 year old Quartey is not quite the same fighter we saw storm through the Welterweight division 6-8 years ago, but then again the current Jr. Middleweight division pales in comparison to its loftier days with star-studded fighters throughout the rankings. The fact is that men like Roman Karmazin, Sergei Dzindziruk, Ricardo Mayorga, and Alejandro Garcia are the titlists that rule the division with Kassim Ouma lurking in the shadows. This division is very thin and is devoid of many up and coming prospects, so Quartey's return would be a welcome addition to the division as well as the sport of boxing.

Many of boxing's big name stars have suffered defeat this year leaving the sport in need of fighters with name recognition. Bazooka is a guy who has fought the big name fighters like the De La Hoya's and Fernando Vargas's of the sport. Seeing that he held his own against them has allowed him to build up a solid fan base in the States which is what the sport needs.

I'm not saying that his next fight should be with Ricardo Mayorga or Kassim Ouma because he still needs another fight or two under his belt to sharpen his skills. However, he has shown tremendous strides in regaining his old form throughout his last two performances which leads me to believe that he is capable of regaining a title in the near future. Hopefully 2006 will be the year of the Bazooka because the sport needs more fighters who can draw a crowd and excite fans, and Ike Quartey is certainly one that can do both.

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