Javier Fortuna got to Carlos Velasquez early, and he without a doubt got to him late, as the 130-pound world champion from the Dominican Republic thoroughly outclassed his opponent in his first title defense in front of a rowdy Las Vegas crowd at the Palms Casino Resort on Tuesday night.
Fortuna took his time to bow to the crowd on all three sides of the ring before the opening bell. It wouldn’t be the last bit of theater Fortuna (29-0-1, 21 KOs) displayed on the evening. He shuffled, he danced, he mugged for the cameras and he windmilled his right hand as if to deliver a bolo punch.
But his best bit of schtick was saved for the 10th round when he turned a perfect somersault in the ring right after referee Russell Mora pulled Javier Fortuna off Carlos Velasquez (19-2, 12 KOs) and half tossed him to the center of the ring while waving off the bout at 35 seconds.
Fortuna came out a relentless whirlwind of knuckles and leather, ducking under the taller Velasquez’s slower, winging rights and battering him on the inside. The assualt got to Velasquez in the second when Fortuna pinballed his opponent’s head with a combination that put him off balance and on the canvas.
Another tsumani of punches started the third, and a bewildered Velasquez, blood streaming from his nose, defiantly waved Fortuna forward for more. It was a brave showing, and curiously, Fortuna seemed unwilling to oblige.
He deftly avoided anything Velasquez cared to throw, but didn’t show that same wolverine-in-a-canvas-sack tenacity that he did through the first three rounds.
“I knew I got him with a good shot [in the second],” Fortuna said. “But I hurt my hand. I didn’t throw my left hand much after that. If I was good with my hands, after the fifth? He wouldn’t have lasted that long.”
It wasn’t until the end of the eighth that Fortuna catapulted back into serious action. He hammered away at Velasquez on the ropes, but the bell ended the attack. The same happened in the ninth.
It was a different story in the 10th. Fortuna pinned Velasquez in his own corner and went to work with a dizzying array of shots. Velasquez tried to escape, but Fortuna followed him to a neutral corner and then along the ropes the other way before Mora stepped in and ended it.
“I knew it was just a matter of time that I’d get him again,” Fortuna said.
On that, he couldn’t have been more correct.
For full highlights of Fortuna vs Velasquez, including photo and video, check out our fight page.
Dominique Dolton, Oscar Molina battle to 10-round stalemate
When you put two undefeated boxers in the ring together, something’s got to give. Except when it doesn’t.
in a scrap that started like a Fred Astaire toe-tapper and ended like an exhausted, staggering barroom brawl, Domonique Dolton (17-0-1, 9 KOs) and Oscar Molina (13-0, 10 KOs) battled to a majority draw.
Dolton—all rocket-fast hands and twitchy, evaporating phantasm to start—looked like he wanted to bait Molina into firing away and open himself up for counters. For a time, Molina was happy to oblige. But as the second round gave way to the third, Molina started to time those counters and evade them.
The adjustment paid off with a big right that staggered Dolton, and Molina pounced. But Dolton weathered the storm to recover and return fire in the back half of the frame.
“I think he hit me with a shot that I didn’t see,” Dolton said. “I thought he was in front of me and he hit me with a shot from the side. That’s the worst punch to get hit with—the one you don’t see.”
Molina pressed his advantage in the early and mid rounds, but as both men began to tire, the work moved from precision punching to absolute trench warfare. By the end, it seemed like each man could have toppled over—that is, if the other wasn’t leaning into him from the other direction, throwing bruising shots to the ribs.
“He’s got really good timing,” Dolton said. “We’re both technicians. I wanted to make him miss, he wanted to make me miss. I think he landed more power shots for the most part in the beginning, but I just made it more rough for him.
"I got in there, and I decided to just beast him. I thought I was physically stronger at the end of the fight. I wanted to land the bigger shot so badly that it caused me to get hit with some shots.”
Indeed, the inside fighting seemed to favor Dolton so well that he overcame an early deficit on two cards to battle back and earn the split.
“I knew it was a close decision," he said. "If it had went either way, I wouldn’t have been mad. It was a close fight. I landed some shots, but if it had gone either way, I wouldn’t have been mad.”
To get the full recap of Dolton vs Molina, including a look at the judges’ scorecards, make sure to visit our fight page.