5. Oscar De La Hoya vs. Ike Quartey - WBC Welterweight Title
February 13, 1999
Boxing’s golden boy is known for promoting fighters these days, but in the 1990s and throughout the 2000s, Oscar De La Hoya was boxing’s biggest box office draw. He also had the best resume of almost anyone in the sport.
Already a four-division world champion at 26 years old, De La Hoya would be facing his stiffest test at welterweight against the former WBA champion Ike Quartey. He would be making the sixth defense of his title against Quartey, who held the WBA title for more than four years before facing De La Hoya. He would have to relinquish his title to take on the popular De La Hoya, but the fight was seen as one between two of the best welterweights of the time.
Quartey, best known for his jab, used his weapon to great success against De La Hoya in what turned out to be a fight that saw both men trade rounds in the first half. The bout is best remembered for two rounds, the sixth and the final 12th round.
In the sixth, De La Hoya would land a left hook dropping Quartey only to be on the receiving end of a quick left from his opponent, putting him down. De La Hoya has always maintained a solid chin throughout his career and was rarely seriously hurt. Seldomly do two fighters drop each other in the same round, which makes it more special when it occurs.
Quartey would take control for most of the following rounds after the sixth. In the 12th and final round, De La Hoya scored another knockdown in desperation as if he knew he was behind. He unloaded everything he had left to stop Quartey, almost pulling off the stoppage. The match with Quartey showed anybody who doubted De La Hoya’s desire or fortitude his determination to win.
De La Hoya would win a split decision with wider-than-expected scorecards. But, on two rounds alone, this fight can be shown for anybody’s enjoyment.
De La Hoya is a fighter whose appreciation has grown since retirement. The activity level and stellar competition all made for a Hall-of-Fame fighter. After the fight with Quartey, he would fight two more times in 1999, including a bout with fellow welterweight champion Felix Trinidad.