This bout, aside from being a classic, was the first hard test in young Oscar De La Hoya's career. For the first time, he was forced to overcome adversity and demonstrate the heart of a true champion.
Coming into the fight, Quartey (34-0-1, 29 KO) was regarded as the best opponent Oscar had ever faced. As a matter of fact, some boxing experts thought Quartey was the best welterweight in the world - not De La Hoya.
De La Hoya's critics often cited he'd padded his record by beating fighters who, despite having big names, were too small, too old and or lacked world class skill. They said Chavez, Whitaker and Camacho were past their primes, They said John John Molina, Rafael Ruelas, Genaro Hernandez, Jesse James Leija and Miguel Angel Gonzalez were too small. And they claimed David Kamau, Wilfredo Rivera, Patrick Charpentier simply lacked the skills and power to challenge De La Hoya.
Some would argue Quartey was, in fact, the first top-tier fighter De La Hoya faced who was young, strong, and skilled - and posed a legitimate threat.
The fight would prove to be difficult for Oscar. Quartey was strong and hungry and wasn't intimidated by the Golden Boy's fame outside the ring nor his skills and speed inside it. In many viewer's minds, the fight was 'up for grabs' heading into the 12th Round. Thinking he could be behind on points, De La Hoya and came out in the 12th and produced perhaps one of the most memorable last-round finishes in the history of boxing.
Some still think Quartey was robbed believing Quartey controlled the pace and landed more power shots.
Both fighters showed great respect for one another's talents and power. Both fought cautiously for much of each round, but when they went toe-to-toe, they went toe-to-toe with abandon.
116-112 - De La Hoya
116-113 - De La Hoya
115-114 - Quartey
This fight was the 6th defense of De La Hoya.
Oscar weighed 147 at the official weigh-in Friday and entered the ring at 153 lbs. Quartey, who weighed in at 146 1/2, entered the ring at 156.
"People want to see a good, action-packed fight and I gave it to them... He was a very, very tough opponent."
De La Hoya