Two-division champion talks about Saturday's fight vs Adrian Granados, reflects on a tough title loss to Robert Easter Jr., and promises he will still make history as the first Dominican-born three-division world champion.
Javier Fortuna nurtures dreams of becoming the first Dominican-born three-division world champion. He has claimed titles at 126 pounds and 130 pounds and would love to do the same at 135 pounds. But first he’s going up in weight to take care of business at 140 pounds.
Fortuna (33-2-1, 23 KOs) will battle Adrian Granados (18-6-2, 12 KOs) in a 10-round, 140-pound special attraction on the undercard of Errol Spence’s 147-pound world title defense against Carlos Ocampo this Saturday on a Showtime-televised card (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.
Fortuna has twice missed weight for world championship fights, most recently failing in January to make the 135-pound limit for a disputed split-decision loss to unbeaten lightweight titlist Robert Easter Jr.
Fortuna won an interim 126-pound title by unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Patrick Hyland in 2012 but missed weight and was stripped before his first defense against Miguel Zamudio in 2013.
Fortuna joined countryman Joan Guzman as a two-division title winner in May 2015 with a unanimous decision over Bryan Vasquez for a vacant 130-pound crown. He was dethroned in June 2016 following an 11th-round TKO loss to Jason Sosa.
Fortuna-Granados is happening within a wide-open division featuring champions Jose Ramirez (WBC) and Kiryl Relikh (WBA), interim titleholder Regis Prograis, and former champs Sergey Lipinets and Terry Flanagan.
How often do you think about your loss to Easter, having fallen short of your goal of becoming the first Dominican-born three-division champion?
That’s still a goal and something that’s always on my mind. I’m even more motivated and determined after the Easter fight that I can do it. No one can ever take that dream away.
With this fight being at 140, is that where your future lies?
I’ll probably be stronger at 140 pounds for this fight, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not a strong fighter at 135. No matter how I perform in this fight, I’m going back down to 135 and possibly even 130 if I have the proper amount of time to train.
Why do you feel you missed weight for Easter?
We didn’t get the final notice until about four or five weeks out. I was still in the Dominican Republic at the time, so I was about 15 pounds over the limit.
By the time I arrived, it was in the dead of winter [in America.] Everything was rushed and disorganized. If I get a fair shake, time-limit-wise, to prepare, then I know I can win a title in either at 135 or 130.
“ On June 16, I know I’m gonna beat Adrian Granados, and I know that, eventually, I’m going to win another world title and become a three-division champion. That’s just my mentality and it always will be. ” Two-division World Champion Javier Fortuna
Strategically, what was the difference between winning and losing against Easter?
I haven’t watched the fight, but I thought it was going to be more of a chess match. The game plan was to counter punch, and I found it pretty easy to touch Easter.
Although I felt like the more effective punches were landed by me, I still believe there are many things I could have done differently. I thought I won the fight. But I lost, so, now, I’m facing an uphill climb.
Are you concerned at all with Granados’ height advantage [at 5-foot-9 to your 5-foot-6] or will already having faced the nearly 6-foot Easter serve as a benefit to you?
I already have the style and the skill to beat Granados, but I was able to neutralize Easter’s height, so the experience that I gained against Easter will be valuable since Granados is shorter.
Will you be strong enough at this weight to overcome the size and brawling style of Granados, which troubled Adrien Broner and Shawn Porter?
I’m not concerned with this question of Granados being the bigger man. On fight night, I’ll be the bigger guy. I also picked up a couple of things from each of Granados’ fights with Broner and Porter.
Neither Broner or Porter hold a candle to my boxing technique. Porter’s a former football player who doesn’t have my boxing IQ, and I believe I hit harder than Broner does at this weight.
I’m not looking for the knockout, but I believe it can happen. I know that I have the power to knock out anybody at 130, 135 or 140.
Is there anything to be gained by watching Granados’ unanimous decisions over southpaws Gaku Takahashi [September 2015] and Ariel Vasquez [July 2016]?
Maybe, but that doesn’t affect or factor into my strategy. I think Adrian Granados is a warrior. I like his boxing style. But the fight breaks down in my favor simply because I am a better fighter.
Even if Granados’ entire career had been against southpaws, my skills are different than anyone he’s ever faced. Adrian Granados surprises a lot of people because they don’t respect him and try to knock him out.
When that doesn’t work, he’s still there battling. I know this and can simply out box him with the timing on my jab, speed, power and movement. When I put it all together, it’ll be very difficult for Granados.
Do you have a prediction?
On June 16, I know I’m gonna beat Adrian Granados, and I know that, eventually, I’m going to win another world title and become a three-division champion. That’s just my mentality and it always will be.
For a closer look at Javier Fortuna, check out his fighter page.