Do Or Die Time

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(Ike, shown right, is back!)
We have heard or read the term millions of times: “Now or never.�

That’s also the theme and title of next Saturday's clash between Ike "Bazooka" Quartey and Vernon "The Viper" Forrest. Sometimes the term can be expressed in other words. Like the ones famed trainer Angelo Dundee shouted to the great Ray Leonard in the late rounds of his clash with the equally great Tommie Hearns. "You're blowing it kid."

Tommie heard the term described differently also when he was fighting the legendary Roberto "Hands Of Stone" Duran in the latter stages of both their famed careers. "Get him out of there now," he was told by his hall of fame trainer and mentor, Emanuel Stewart. And he did; knocking out Duran.  

"Now or Never", can mean right now or it can also mean, crossroads. That is the word that can be best used here. Quartey, after a self-imposed exile and exit from boxing came back. He, like Forrest is a former welterweight champion. Unlike Forrest, health is not really an issue or concern. Not for this gent who walked away from the game for five years and then returned with a knockout win at home in Accra, Ghana. Ike has money and was doing some promoting himself in his home land. But fighting was still in his heart and blood. 

Ike's departure from boxing was one steeped in dismay, disappointment and disillusion with the sport he loved. A loss to Oscar De La Hoya in which Ike and so many fans and people felt he won, was step one. Then another close loss to Fernando Vargas and his head and heart were in a fog. Then things came to the breaking point, when a victory over Jose Luis Lopez was changed to a draw. Quartey, didn't see boxing as a pretty picture in his life anymore and departed the game he loved. 

Now he is back. Feeling and knowing he can still fight, win and be a champion again. Also his trust in his promoter, Lou DiBella from both a business and personal side, were major factors in his return and restored faith. "I came back because I love to fight," he has stated. His 31 knockouts validate his nickname of, "Bazooka.". 

Vernon Forrest is best remembered for his stunning and outstanding back to back wins over Shane Mosley back in 2002. It won him a host of awards, Fighter of The Year by the Boxing Writers of America, ESPN and Ring Magazine also tabbed him with their fighter of the year awards. 

But Forrest has a history of injuries and they have plagued him, not allowing him the health needed to display his outstanding boxing skills and validate his tag of, "the Viper." When healthy he is one of the very best. A record of 37-2, with 28 knockouts—his two loses came against Ricardo Mayorga. Which puzzled all. He takes out the popular ones such as deft-fighting and skilled Mosley and then loses back to back to Mayorga. Styles make fights but injuries can make one unable to fight their fight. 

"I was back in the ring after a two-year, injury plagued layoff and had made inroads to reestablishing my career with three fights back to back when I suffered another injury. I have taken the necessary time to heal and am ready for it to all be behind me, as I am looking forward to continuing my career," Forrest said.

He knows that Madison Square Garden has been a place where he has had some great success. He likes the Garden and New York City. He is aware of Quartey's punching power. "I want to be in the Boxing Hall of Fame, that is my ultimate and defining goal as a fighter to be remembered as one of the great ones,� he added.
The August 5th CO-main event features Sechew Powell 20-0-12 KO's from Brooklyn, New York going against Kassim Ouma, 24-2-1-15KO's from Kampala, Uganda.

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