Tuesday night at the Palms Casino and Resort’s Palm Theater in Las Vegas, Nevada, Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna (29-0-1, 21 KOs), from La Romana, Dominican Republic, successfully defended his WBA World super featherweight title by stopping Carlos “Twin Dream” Velasquez (19-2, 12 KOs), from Miami, Florida, by way of Catano, Puerto Rico, at :35 of the 10th round.
Fighting out of the blue corner in gold trunks trimmed in black, Fortuna established his superiority at the opening bell with a lead right from the southpaw stance. Applying pressure, always moving, and firing off punches from odd angles, he gave his opponent fits, even amid all the grappling and missed punches in round one.
Velasquez, fighting of the red corner in red and white trunks, had height and reach advantages coming in. At 5-foot-9 to Fortuna’s 5-foot-5, he was long enough to cause the champion problems. But Velasquez is 31, while Fortuna is 26, and the Dominican with spring in his legs was the one causing problems at the Palms.
After drawing first blood from the bridge of Velasquez’s nose in the opening round, Fortuna took control of the fight in the second. His herky-jerky style created openings which he was able to exploit. Two lefts dropped Velasquez the canvas. He was also bleeding from the nose.
The champion was relentless. Even with an injured left hand, Fortuna was too determined, too athletic for Velasquez to get any traction.
“I knew I got him with a good shot when I knocked him down,” said Fortuna. “I hurt my left hand after that but it was just a matter of time until I got him again. If I hadn’t hurt my hand, he wouldn’t have lasted five rounds.”
By the eighth round, Velasquez’s face was a bloody mess. He never stopped trying, even though he was fighting a losing battle, and did all he could to gain the upper hand. Even his corner’s plea at the end of the ninth round, “You’ve got to release your hands and use your legs. We can’t let the fight go to the final round,” had little effect.
Fortuna knew the fight was his and proceeded to let the referee, Russell Mora, know it as well. Unleashing a barrage of unanswered punches, Mora stepped it and waved it off.
Fortuna was jubilant. Velasquez looked relieved.
According to CompuBox, Fortuna landed 168 of 453 punches (37%) to Velasquez’s 51 of 287 (18%).
It was as dominant a performance as those numbers suggest.
“The rhythm of the fight was important,” said Fortuna. “I was in control of the fight because I could control the rhythm.”
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.