ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Officially, George Foreman was stripped of his World Boxing Association heavyweight title yesterday and, unofficially, Pernell Whitaker simply walked away from his WBA junior middleweight belt.
Whitaker (35-1-1) waited only a few minutes Saturday night after he captured a unanimous 12-round decision from Julio Cesar Vasquez -- a verdict Vasquez endorsed -- to say, "I'm giving Julio back his belt."
Whitaker isn't angry at anyone. He just liked the idea of joining an elite crew that has captured world titles in four different weight classes.
Now he will return to his 147-pound World Boxing Council welterweight realm, to fight Gary Jacobs in July and then tussle with the undefeated WBA welterweight king, Ike Quartey, in October.
Quartey was a slugging machine Saturday night in stopping Jung-Oh Park, who took such a pounding around the face he was sent to the hospital for observation after the fight was halted in the fourth round. Quartey's record improved to 28-0, with 24 knockouts.
"We want Whitaker," the jubilant Quartey said. "Tell him we're ready."
Whitaker was in terrible pain after his 12-round bout. He was clobbered with a shot to his right rib cage in an early round. He will undergo further medical tests when he returns home to Norfolk, Va.
Vasquez (52-2), though, did not win any of the last eight rounds on the score cards of the three judges. He lost a point in the ninth and 11th rounds for holding and hitting, points that didn't affect the outcome.