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Williams destroys Mitchell; calls out Margarito AGAIN!

Margarito: Forget about Floyd for now; fight those who are calling you out!

Last Saturday night in Reno, NV, Paul Williams maintained his mandatory WBO ranking and undefeated record by posting a 4th round TKO of Former two-time Jr Welterweight Champion Sharmba Mitchell.

From the opening bell, Williams attacked Mitchell like an angry swarm of bees. Mitchell's size disadvantage was apparent from the outset. Mitchell did, however, manage to connect with a combination in the 2nd round, but was dropped in the third round.

The fourth round saw the end for Mitchell, as Williams decked him three times to prompt the referee to the stop the fight. Once again, Williams called out WBO Welterweight Champion Antonio "the self-proclaimed most feared man in boxing" Margarito to a fight.

Margarito has a fight lined up for December 2 in Atlantic City, NJ on Showtime, and word has it that the opponent will be Joshua Clottey, so Williams could be off Margarito's dance card until early next year. One thing is certain; Margarito must defend against Williams (his mandatory) in order to keep the belt he currently holds.

Most feared man in boxing, Antonio?

Face Clottey. Face Williams. Take on Kasim Ouma, who has expressed an interest in fighting you.

Those who acknowledge the fact that Margarito is only a welterweight might be overlooking the fact that he moved up to Jr Middleweight to fight Daniel Santos in September 2004. Although he lost that fight at the 154lb weight class via a technical decision, he did not exactly look ridiculously removed from his natural weight element of 147lbs.

If he can fight Santos, he can fight Ouma at 154lbs, or even a catch weight of 150lbs. Margarito has never been knocked out. Ouma, who has a high punch output and works three minutes and ten seconds of every round, couldn't crack an egg with his punches if he wanted to. What is wrong with Margarito vs Ouma at 154lbs, or even 150lbs????

Most feared man in boxing? How about knocking out these top 147lbers or even a 154lber, to prove to your fellow pugilists at 147lbs just how feared you are????

Just because Floyd Mayweather is facing World Welterweight Champion Carlos Baldomir on November 4, and does not have you on his dance card at this moment, does not mean that all of the other welterweights and super welterweights are avoiding you!

Give the boxing fans, and most importantly, some of your fellow welterweights a legitimate reason to "shiver!"

Spinks vs Mayweather November 4 on HBO PPV???

Reliable sources in boxing are implying that a proposed fight between IBF Jr Middleweight Champion Cory Spinks and undefeated Pound For Pound phenomenon Floyd Mayweather is close to be finalized.

Agreements have been reached between both parties and the contracts have been signed by both boxers. The bout has already been approved by the IBF, and now the only thing left on the agenda is for Don King to make an announcement in regards to the date of the opening press conference to officially announce the fight.

Spinks was last seen in the ring on July 8, dethroning Roman Karmazin in his hometown of St Louis to win the title via a close majority decision.

Mayweather's last appearance was on April 8th in Las Vegas, as he defeated Zab Judah for the IBF Welterweight Championship via unanimous decision.

Toney and Peter wage war via conference call!

09.08.06 - The 20-year anniversary celebration of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING continues in spectacular fashion on Saturday, Sept. 2, when James “Lights Out” Toney faces Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare’’ Peter in a 12-round WBC heavy weight elimination bout on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast) at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. In the co-feature, Eric Aiken defends his IBF featherweight title against Robert “The Ghost’’ Guerrero.

PLEASE NOTE: Portions of the transcript have been edited (more than usual) for content.

Peter: I am in Las Vegas training, waiting for James Toney. I thank everybody that put this fight together. I am so excited because it is going to be an exciting fight. I know nobody can tell what God's glory is, so I am ready to roll.

Toney: I am looking forward to Sept. 2. I am fighting a very credible challenger in Sam Peters, second in the world to date. I am looking forward to the opportunity to show everybody that I am the best heavyweight out there. It is going to be a great show. This is the kind of fight that the fans want to see. They want to see James fighting Sammy Peter. It should be a vacation match..

Question: James, what has training been like? Are you doing anything differently? Do you feel you're more focused? Are you doing anything differently? Do you feel this is a must win fight for you?

Toney: Every fight I am in is a must win fight. I went back to basics. Same as with Holyfield, that is what I went back to. It is going very well. I have no complaints.

Question: Sam, this is a crossroads fight. Do you feel it is a must win fight for you?

Peter: Yes. I am really sure this is a big fight and a big win for me because I am fighting a two-time heavyweight champion, two times challenging. So I am ready to prove I am going to be the next heavyweight champion of the world. I thank Toney for giving me this opportunity to beat him.

Question: James, some feel you could have defeated Hasim Rahman easily if you had come in at 225 instead of 237. Have you thought about that? Do you agree with that?

Toney: I have gone back towards it. I thought I won the fight, but I should have come in better shape because I had a little cold before the fight. No excuse. But now we are here. I will jump right back into the frying pan. You don't know too many fighters today that will jump right back into the frying pan with a difficult fight. I don’t think anybody in boxing, but James Toney, is taking a tough fight after a tough fight. So I will be in great shape. I wish the fight was today, but it isn't. Three and a half more weeks, and I will be ready.

Question: Do you have a target as far as what you want to come in for this fight?

Toney: I am going to come in wherever I am comfortable at. I am just excited.

Question: Do you feel like it is time, especially from this fight, or maybe your next two, for James Toney to really go out there and prove it?

Toney: Definitely. I am going to start with this fight. I was unhappy with the last fight, and we should be. It is like being on a football team. Even if your team had a draw, you are never happy with the results. You always want to strive for the perfection. And that is what I plan on doing. Like I said, I am just happy to get the opportunity to show that I am the best fighter in the world.

Question: James, what kind of threat does Sam Peter pose to you?

Toney: He poses a threat to everybody else, but not to me. Don't get me wrong, he's a good fighter. But he has never been in the ring with anybody like me before in his life. It doesn’t matter if I fought middleweight or lightweight, or cruiserweight, James Toney can flat out just fight. I am a natural born fighter. Everybody else was taught to fight. That is the difference between me and everybody else.

Question: James, Sam Peter is probably the biggest, strongest and fastest guy you fought at heavyweight. Do you agree with that? If so, are you approaching this fight any differently?

Toney: I don't approach any fight different. If you know me, you haven't ever seen me change my style for anybody. I am not that type of fighter. I do what James does best, and that is just fight. Ruiz is bigger than Sam Peter, and Rahman. Both are stronger than me. You see where that went. So it doesn't matter. I just know how to fight, period. And that is what this is all about. James Toney flat out knows how to fight. The best fighter in the boxing world, period, ever born.

Question: Sam, James is very different than anyone you have fought, as well. He is a very skilled fighter. How do you approach a guy who is going to give you all kinds of angles and really knows every trick in the book?

Peter: Well, Toney hasn't fought anybody like me before. Even though he has been two or three times champion of the world, I have my own training. Nobody has seen Sammy Peter yet, but I think this fight will prove that people have things wrong about me. I am a fighter, I am a boxer. I can do anything. Any kind of situation. This is a great fight for me because I love the way Toney boxes. I think this is going to put me in a good position.

Question: Sam, why do you think James is such a good fight for you and why do you feel you are going to win?

Peter: Because the ring man is going to be standing there with me. I know I am going to catch him later on.

Question: James, you’re from Michigan, but you consider yourself a Los Angeles fighter, right?

Toney: I consider myself a trained fighter living here in L.A.

Question: You are going to fight the winner of Saturday’s fight. What do you think about that fight? Obviously, this fight appears to be much more attractive than that one.

Toney: Nobody wanted to see that fight. Oleg Maskaev hasn't done anything since he beat Rahman seven years ago. If he had beaten me like they said he would, he should have knocked me out, as bad shape as I was in when he fought me.

Question: So you were not in the best shape for Rahman?

Toney: Yes. He should have knocked me out. He did all this whooping before the fight, but when that bell rang, you saw how tentative he was.

Question: Since he didn't do that, what did you learn from that experience?

Toney: What I learned is give 100 percent when I am ready. That is what I learned. But percent of James Toney beat the best Rahman ever can be in. Forty percent James Toney versus 110 percent when he tried his best. He was scared to death.

Question: James, you said you were only 40 percent for Rahman. What about the other 60 percent? What was the problem there?

Toney: You saw him around my waist. I had a little flu. Like I said, I am going to do my thing.

Question: So you had the flu?

Toney: I had the flu. My whole crew knew about it, but I do what I do.

Question: How are you now at this point? Are you all recovered from that?

Toney: Good. I am 100 percent I am ready to go. Whatever. He did what he had to do. We had an incompetent referee, Eddie Cotton. But I am pretty sure we have a professional referee this time. And I am ready to go. I am excited. Even though fighting in L.A., my adopted hometown, the fans will be there. And it is on SHOWTIME boxing. I am ready to go.

Question: Was it because of just the weight and the flu that you had before the fight? Because a lot of people felt, going into that fight, that you were going to win in a very, very clear-cut fashion. Of course, officially it ended up being a draw.

Toney: I still want to fight. I have a credible opponent. His people feel they can beat me, so put it up. Put up or shut up.

Question: And at what point is Father Time going to be a factor? You are approaching the age of 38, an age which, especially a lot of heavy weights, start to think about hanging it up.

Toney: Father Time? I don't even know what that is.

Question: Sam, Toney is a tremendous fighter in terms of defense, counter punching, fighting from angles. A lot of things that are really old school. You are a younger fighter and known more as a power puncher. Have you adjusted your style, or are you going to adjust your style, to face Toney?

Peter: I am going to walk through him.

Toney: Oh, I like that. Keep your promise.

Question: Did you say you are going to walk through him?

Toney: That is what he said.

Question: Then what is your game plan going to be? Is it going to be similar to the fighting you did against Klitschko, or is it going to be different?

Peter: That is why I said I am going to walk through. He is a very good fighter, but I know I am going to walk through him. He is not going to stop me, he is not going to crack me. I am going to walk through him.

Question: What did you see in James' fight with Rahman that leads you to believe that you can walk through him?

Peter: I see a lot of things. It was an interesting fight. But I saw a lot of things that Rahman was not able to do as a heavyweight. But for me, I will rail on his body.

Question: Have you adjusted any of your style since the Klitschko fight?

Peter: It depends on who you fight. Toney is the best fighter for me to prove that I am a real fighter, I am a real boxer.

Question: What kind of sparring partners have you been bringing in to prepare for James.

Peter: I have been doing what I was supposed to do, what I do for a championship. The championship is different from any fight that you fight. You have to do something different. Because the people being around you, my sparring partners and everyone that is with me, we do something different. Everybody will see on Sept. 2.

Question: Do either of you guys want to make a prediction?

Toney: I am knocking him out. I am knocking him out. Sammy, you are getting knocked out.

Peter: You are still dreaming.

Toney: Speak English.

Toney: You have a little Russian behind you.

Peter: I am from Africa.

Toney: Yes, you are from Africa.

Peter: You don't even know where you are from. Do you know where you are from? You don't even know where you are from.

Toney: I am from my mama, where are you from? I am going to send you back on a banana boat, punk.

Peter: You don't know where you are from. You can't even speak English.

Question: James, what do you think is your big advantage is when you step in the ring?

Toney: Look, Samuel is a strong guy for the guys he has fought. But all the guys he fought were paid to lie down. You know that. I am for the best fight in the world. You know what I am saying? There isn't a strategy. It is just me being me.

Peter: That was history. We are talking present. You always talk history.

Toney: I am going to beat you, I will tell you that.

Peter: Stop talking history. You are talking history. That was done. You were done. That is history. Talk present. You know what it means?

Toney: I am going to back it up. Who cares?

Peter: Talk English. Speak English. You don't even know where you are from.

Toney: Shut up. Shut up.

Peter: You tell me to shut up. You cannot even speak.

Toney: Shut up. Get off the telephone. You telephone talk, that's all you are.

Peter: Don't worry. You are in L.A.

Question: Sam, what do you think your big advantage is against James.

Peter: Well, I am going to knock Toney out, no matter what.

Toney: Like I said …

Peter: Shut up when I am talking.

Toney: Shut up. You are not anyone.

Peter: Shut up when I am talking.

Toney: Make me shut up. Make me shut up, punk.

Peter: Be quiet when I am talking. Sammy is talking. Be quiet when the …

Toney: Climb a tree.

Peter: Did you hear what I said? Shut up when Sammy is talking.

Toney: Whatever, man, whatever. Say it.

Toney: No more questions. I am gone. I have business to take care of. He made me mad.

Peter: Sit down and talk. Sit down. Right now.

Toney: Shut up.

Peter: Don't move.

Toney: You are going to see me in a couple of weeks anyway. Don't worry about it.

Peter: I said keep quiet. Sit down where you are right now.

Toney: You are a telephone talker, that's all you are. You aren't scaring anybody.

Peter: Sit down, do you hear what I am saying?

Toney: You're scared. I own you. I am your master.

Question: James, has the draw against Rahman served as a motivation for this fight?

Toney: I don't need motivation. I am the best heavyweight in the world, best fighter in the world. We put the challenge out to everybody. They stepped up and took it. They are going to regret it. Bottom line. I will fight anybody, anywhere, any time. I am big and bad as they come. I blow houses down.

Question: Sam, when you first heard you were going to get this fight, what was your reaction?

Peter: I was thinking glory be to God. Thank God. Because this is what I was looking for, to be the heavyweight champion of the world. This is the opportunity. I was so excited that Toney gave me the opportunity to beat him, to become heavyweight champion of the world.

Question: Were you surprised when this came?

Peter: Well, I wasn't sure. I wasn't sure. I wasn't sure until I met him in person, and then I saw how it is and everything was going through. Then I was glory be to God.

Question: James, do you think you are going to be able to lie on the ropes and allow the fighter to come to you. Do you think that is an effective strategy against a guy like Peter?

Toney: I fight everybody the same way. If you watch my career, I knock them out. It is like a Hollywood horror film when I get done with them. Look at Rahman. I swelled him up. Even though I got a draw, I swelled him up. Look at Ruiz. All these supposedly big guys, tougher guys than me. I have seen it all, I have been there, done that. It doesn't matter.

Question: This is a question for both fighters. After the exchange that went on today, has this fight become more personal?

Toney: It has been personal. He signed a contract. Anybody that signs a contract to fight me, it is personal.

Question: How about you, Sam?

Peter: Does that mean anybody that signs a contract? It is a personal issue right now. He signed a contract, I signed a contract. We are ready to roll.

Question: James, could you tell us what you think is going to happen in Saturday's fight?

Toney: It is going to be a stinking fight. I have a feeling Rahman might get knocked out. He got knocked out once. It is in the back of his mind. It could happen again. I tested him a couple of times. If I had been like I should have, I would have knocked him out. Rahman hasn't got the best ticker.

Peter: Well, I thank everybody. I thank all of my fans, being there for me. I thank the good promoters for putting this fight together. I thank my manager. I thank James Toney, being a man and stepping over for this fight. Everybody that is watching this fight, it is going to be a great show. It is going to be a great fight. So thank you, everybody.

Toney: First and foremost, I want to thank the Man upstairs for giving me the opportunity. I want to thank my promotional group, my whole management team, my pop, my wife. Everybody around me. Showtime -- you know, the greatest network for boxing. They only show the greatest fights and this is going to be one of them. Thanks to STAPLES Center. And the whole city of L.A. for hosting this. It is going to be a tremendous night of fireworks on Sept. 2. I can't wait. Thank you.

Forrest vs Quartey Master Scorecard!

Here you will see the official master scorecard for the Ike Quartey/Vernon Forrest fight, which took place at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York last Saturday night. The fight was televised on HBO World Championship Boxing.

The official cards, as you will notice, reflect a narrow decision victory for Forrest (96-93, 95-94 twice). I had scored the fight 95-94 Quartey (as you can see on my unofficial card at the bottom of this post), while others such as HBO's unofficial ringside judge Harold Lederman gave Quartey much more credit than I did, with a score of 97-92. The following is an illustration of the official master scorecard.

Click on image to enlarge.

From this observer's perspective, without the point deduction for the low blow by Forrest in the 9th round, Quartey would've deserved a draw in that fight. However, the officials did not quite see the fight from the same perspective. The ninth round was undoubtedly the most critical round of the fight. Whether you liked Quartey's effectiveness in the first half of the round, or Forrest's rally in the last minute to save the round as an even round, score totals of this fight could conceivably swing either way. The fight was close.

Therefore, I can not exactly label that decision made by the judges, a decision that prompted aggitated fans in the crowd to angrily chant "bullshit," a highway robbery (ala Holyfield vs Lewis I or Foreman Briggs, two of the biggest highway robberies of the 90s), but I will admit that Quartey was once again on the wrong side of another close and unpopular decision, just as he was seven years ago with Oscar De la hoya. I thought he deserved to win a close decision in the De la hoya fight, too.

Certainly this was not one of those robberies that warranted immediate investigation. I would, however, care to see a rematch.

Quartey just can not seem to catch a break when it comes to being in close fights in America. In October of 1997, Quartey was forced to settle for a draw with Jose Luis Lopez, in a fight in which Quartey clearly won atleast eight rounds.

With all of the business being conducted from 147lbs to 154lbs (which you will read a bit more about later on), involving all of the other big players in the neighboring classes, Quartey and Forrest seem to be left alone solely for each other for the time being. Let's see a rematch with a much clearer winner. Here's to hoping Quartey doesn't fall into obscurity for another 14 to 16 months as a result of this.

My scorecard for Forrest/Quartey read as follows:

Round 1: 10-9 Forrest
Round 2: 10-9 Quartey Total: 19-19
Round 3: 10-9 Quartey Total: 29-28 Quartey
Round 4: 10-9 Forrest Total: 38-38
Round 5: 10-9 Forrest Total: 48-47 Forrest
Round 6: 10-9 Quartey Total: 57-57
Round 7: 10-9 Forrest Total: 67-66 Forrest
Round 8: 10-9 Quartey Total: 76-76
Round 9: 10-9 Forrest/1 point deduction from Forrest = 9-9 Total: 85-85
Round 10: 10-9 Quartey
Total: 95-94 Quartey (5-4-1 in rounds).

Ouma vs Powell scorecard

Round 1: 10-9 Ouma
Round 2: 10-9 Powell Total: 19-19
Round 3: 10-9 Powell Total: 29-28 Powell
Round 4: 10-9 Ouma Total: 38-38
Round 5: 10-9 Ouma Total: 48-47 Ouma
Round 6: 10-9 Ouma Total: 58-56 Ouma
Round 7: 10-9 Ouma Total: 68-65 Ouma
Round 8: 10-9 Ouma Total: 78-74 Ouma
Round 9: 10-9 Ouma Total: 88-83 Ouma
Round 10: 10-9 Powell
Total: 97-93 Ouma (7-3 in rounds).

No controversy here, as you can clearly see.

James Toney spews venom!

Determined to silence the critics who constantly harp on him about his weight and conditioning, the normally loquacious James "Lights Out" Toney was uncharacteristically near silence himself in responding tersely to questions addressed to him during preparation for his September 2nd "No Risk, No Reward" WBC 12-round Heavyweight title elimination bout against the hard-hitting Samuel "The Nigerian Nightmare" Peter at the Staples Center.

Following a spirited sparring session this past weekend, an obviously irritated Toney redirected his anger toward his critics. Below are comments distributed by his publicist:

Q: How is your weight, James?
A: "I am a (bleeping) heavyweight. No one questioned Ali and Foreman, so don't question me."

Q: How is your conditioning?
A: "Same as above." (Bleep) Off!"

Q: What about your cigar smoking?
A: "Yeah what about it? Smoke this."

Q: What is different with this camp as to your camp for the Hasim Rahman fight?
A: "I am not talking about camp. I'm putting the Nightmare to sleep."

Q: Who are you sparring with and how is it going?
A: "Keep asking stupid questions, it'll be you. Now (Bleep) Off!"

"No Risk, No Reward" is promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions, Don King Productions and Duva Boxing and will be the main event on the live "Showtime Championship Boxing" telecast. An IBF 12-round Featherweight Championship Bout between NABF Featherweight champion, Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero, against the IBF world champion, Eric "Mickey Mouse" Aiken will open up the SHOWTIME broadcast. Tickets priced at $300, $150, $75, and $50 are available at STAPLES CENTER box office or

Forrest wins controversial decision over Quartey!

Vernon Forrest won a controversial unanimous decision over Ike Quartey tonight at the theater at Madison Square Garden. The fight had shifting tides of fortune, as in this observer's eyes, both fighters appeared to give and take rounds from one another.

At times, Quartey was keeping Forrest on his heels by landing the harder and cleaner shots - left jabs, left hooks, and right hands. Forrest's right eye was slightly swollen, a product of Quartey's repeatedly landed left hands. Other times, Forrest was able to get on his bicycle, move around, and outwork Quartey with shoeshines and flurries and appeared to win some rounds for him.

Since the surgeries, Forrest's left shoulder has not been the same, as he dispensed with his left jab for most of the night. When he did throw it, it was nothing more than a powder puff. Round nine was the most crucial round of the fight, as Forrest had a point deducted for a low blow.

That point deduction, many observers felt, might have cost Forrest a close decision loss. Forrest, in my eyes, appeared to win the 9th round, earning himself a 9-9 score for that round. The point deduction, on my scorecard, made a huge difference, as I scored the fight 5-4-1, 95-94 for Quartey. Judges scores for the fight were 95-94 twice, 96-93, all in favor of Forrest. The booes throughout the arena told the tale of the crowd's disapproval of the decision that was made by the three judges at ringside.

Kassim Ouma W10 Sechew Powell

On the undercard, Former IBF Jr Middleweight Champion Kassim Ouma turned in a workman like effort, outworking previously undefeated Sechew Powell for a unanimous decision victory. Ouma looked like the energizer bunny, as he continuously walked down Powell, threw more punches (an average of over 100 punches per round) and beat the retreating Powell with sheer activity.

Powell appeared to land the cleaner shots, but he did not land nearly enough of them to get Ouma's respect or, more importantly, to win the fight. He fight the wrong fight and probably should've fought more aggressively. Judges scores were 100-90, 97-93, and 96-94 all for Ouma. I scored it 97-93 for Ouma.

Quartey vs Forrest: Set to take place tonight at MSG!

Tonight, at the Theater in Madison Square Garden, a showdown between two former Welterweight Champions is set to take place. Ike Quartey, of Accra, Ghana, meets Vernon Forrest, of Atlanta Georgia, in a jr middleweight fight that is set for 12 rounds. Both fighters, in addition to being former welterweight champions, are also well into their mid-thirties.
You might recall that the Theater at Madison Square Garden is the site at which Forrest scored his first professional victory over Sugar Shane Mosley to win the World Welterweight Championship on January 26, 2002.

Since defeating Mosley on that night, and coming back to defeat Mosley once again in a return engagement in July of that year, Forrest relinquished his title in a shocking three round KO loss to Ricardo "El Matador" Mayorga on January 25, 2003. Forrest, believing the loss was a fluke, would return for a rematch against Mayorga six months later. The second time around, Mayorga would score a controversial majority decision over the Atlanta native.

After taking a two year hiatus away from the ring, Forrest returned to the ring to score an impressive second round stoppage of Sergio Rios on the undercard of Hopkins vs Taylor I in July of last year. Following the victory over Rios, Forrest posted 10th round TKO victory, this one much less impressive, over relatively unknown Elco Garcia.

Coming back from a variety of surgeries which kept him out of action, Forrest looks to regroup and turn the clock back to that fateful night at the Garden back in January of 2002, in order to defeat Quartey tonight in this significant battle for 154lb contention.

Ike Quartey, who was devastating force in the late 1990s, became the WBA Welterweight Champion with an 11th round stoppage of Crisanto Espana in April 1994. With title defenses against the likes of Vince Phillips (who later became a titlest at 140lbs with his upset victory of Kostya Tszyu) and Oba Carr, Quartey cemented his status as one of the best welterweights in the world.

In October of 1997, Quartey would face off against the Mexican power-punching Jose Luis Lopez. After ten rounds of action, seemingly dominated by the Guanayan champion, Lopez would hurt Quartey and drop and him in the 11th round. Quartey was badly stunned, but got up and continued to the final bell. Quartey had also been dropped in the second round; that knockdown being more of a flash knockdown. That fight ended in a majority draw, but most observers felt as though Quartey deserved the decision.

The draw against Lopez would lead Quartey, 16 months later, to a mega showdown with WBC Welterweight Champion Oscar De la hoya. In a highly competitive fight that saw both of the undefeated contestants kiss the canvas, De la hoya would emerge with a razor-thin split decision that is highly debatable to this very day.

Quartey would take another 14 months off before facing then-undefeated IBF Jr Middleweight Champion Fernando Vargas. Vargas, who was then considered a much younger and fresher champion rising to the top of the boxing world, outworked and outboxed Quartey to a close yet convincing unanimous decision.

The loss to Vargas signaled a five year retirement from the ring for Quartey. Taking a long rest and deciding to return to the ring in 2005, Quartey is 3-0 in his comeback, two of the wins coming against former IBF Jr Middleweight Champion Verno Phillips (considered a quality win for Quartey on his comeback) and Carlos Bojorquez. Quartey looked sharp and impressive in both of those victories.

That leads us to tonight's showdown. Forrest is a tall and ranger boxer who likes to fire combinations, while Quartey possesses a piston-like left jab with power that would constitute a legitimate power punch for most other boxers. Will Forrest's height and reach advantage bother Quartey from the outside? Will Quartey's left jab find its target on Forrest and have an impact on the flow of the fight? Knowing that both boxers are coming back from inactivity, and are in their mid thirties, will there be stamina issues late in the fight? In terms of a prediction, I have gone back and forth on this fight. Don't know who exactly to pick. There are so many intangibles.

Both pugilists are facing each other to earn one more showdown for either a championship, big money, or both, at 154lbs. The Jr Middleweight division, with titlests such as Corey Spinks and Jose Antonio Rivera, and top contenders such as Shane Mosley, Kasim Ouma and Roman Karmazin, is a division that is filled with talent.

Tonight's fight between Quartey and Forrest will be televised live on HBO at 10PM/ET 7PM/PT.