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Don’t sleep on Javier Fortuna at lightweight

21
Nov

It seemed strange at the time, when Javier Fortuna pulled his hood over his head and curled up on the canvas like he was ready for a nap. He just stopped Antonio Lozada for his third-straight victory, and the former junior lightweight titlist did it on national TV Saturday night, as the main event on the FS1 PBC Fight Night card.

Maybe Fortuna (36-2-1, 25 knockouts) was sending a message with the gesture to the rest of the 135-pound contenders out there: Don’t sleep on him.

The 31-year-old Fortuna stopped Lozada (40-5-1, 34 KOs) at 2:34 of the sixth round and made it look easy, amid a variety of Dr. Suess’ character expressions.

He outlanded Lozada 107(29 body shots)/316 to 45(3)/292. He connected on more than double Lozada’s power punches (94/198 to 40/181).

It had been a year and 20 days since Fortuna last fought, but if there was any ring rust, it certainly wasn’t evident.

Based on his dominance of Lozada at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, Fortuna’s name has to be under consideration for a possible 2021 title fight with WBC secondary titlist Devin Haney or world lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez.

Lozada, a 6-foot lightweight, appears to be a mere shell of the fighter who once upset unbeaten Felix Verdejo in March 2018 by 10th round knockout. Since then, he’s gone 1-3-1 in his last five fights.

Lozada couldn’t keep Fortuna off of him. Fortuna threw wide right hooks, blunt head shots, hard body shots. Lozada did not where to turn.

Finally, in the sixth, Fortuna snuck in a left to Lozada’s chin. Seconds later, he landed a right hook, causing Lozada to retreat to the ropes. Fortuna followed, landing a barrage of punches, forcing referee Gerald White to look closely.

Then, after a head-snapping straight left, White knew the end arrived. He widely stepped in to stop it at 2:34 of the sixth.

On the undercard, Austin Dulay (14-2, 10 KOs) scored a unanimous 10-round victory over Jose Luis Gallegos (19-10, 14 KOs) and 18-year-old lightweight Fernando Molina (3-0, 2 KOs) went beyond three rounds for the first time to beat Jose Zaragoza (5-4-1, 2 KOs).

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.

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