By Ryan Burton
Tropicana Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas - Javier Fortuna entered the ring Saturday evening as a big favorite against Juan Antonio Rodriguez. The betting odds appeared to be validated as Fortuna's big advantage in hand speed was evident early on as he peppered Rodriguez but Fortuna had to hold on to survive an exciting fight that was way more competitive than the final scores of 98-91 on all three judges scorecards.
Fortuna's early momentum continued as he knocked Rodriguez down in the third when the Mexican was off balance.
Moments later that momentum and the fight slowed down from it's blistering start after a clash of heads cause a nasty cut over Fortuna's right eye. Fortuna went down at the end of the round but referee Robert Byrd ruled it a slip even though it appeared to be a legitimate knockdown.
Fortuna started to concentrate more on throwing power shots as his face became more and kite of a bloody mess. The Dominican appeared to have his nose broken as he frequently sprayed blood from his nostrils and kept his mouth wide open.
Rodriguez began to attack Fortuna's body more in the 7th and 8th as Fortuna found himself against the ropes more often than at any point earlier in the fight. Fortuna went down on one knee late in the 8th round but somehow Byrd missed that knockdown as well.
Fortuna unloaded a fury of punches in the 9th and caused a cut over Rodriguez's left eye but the Mexican came back to close the round strong.
Fortuna raised his arm as the 10th and final round began as if to try to summon the energy to will himself to victory as he was almost blind out of both of his eyes. Fortuna had to hold on to make it to the final bell as Rodriguez landed several hard shots that had Fortuna almost out on his feet.
The Dominican showed a lot of heart and determination as he gutted out a victory in a thrilling fight against a game opponent. A rematch certainly wouldn't be out of the question.
In the HBO co-feature fight, Luis Rosa defeated Orlandito Del Valle via unanimous decision in an all Puerto Rican showdown. The two fighters engaged in trash talk throughout the final press conference and weigh in and Rosa was able to secure bragging rights in the foul marred contest. The final scores were 97-92, 97-91 and 98-91.
Both fighters started out fast throwing a lot of punches in the first round. Early on Rosa was the more accurate puncher while Del Valle landed the harder shots.
Rosa landed a punch way south of the border in the third round that drew a warning from referee Kenny Bayless. Neither used much of a jab as they both concentrated on throwing power shots.
Rosa had all of the momentum through 4 rounds but Del Valle landed a big left hand that dropped Rosa in the fifth. A cut opened up on the bridge of Del Valle's nose as both men continued to trade power shots.
Rosa took control of the fight again in the 6th as he began to throw a few jabs to control the distance.
The Connecticut based Rosa had a point deducted in the 7th for hitting on the break. He had previously received multiple warnings for pushing Del Valle's head down in addition to the low blows.
Rosa continued to be be the more accurate puncher through the final three rounds and withstood a late charge from Del Valle at the end of the 10th round. With the win Rosa improves to 17-0 and Del Valle falls to 18-2.
Mora dominated from the opening bell, dropping Rogers midway through the 1st round with a big overhand right but the Virgin Islands native was able to quickly recover.
Mora boxing a nearly flawless fight and hurt Rogers on several more occasions and dropped him again in the 5th round. Rogers rose on very unsteady legs and referee Russell Mora stopped the fight at 2:55 mark when Mora unleashed a barrage of punches against the defenseless Rogers
Junior featherweight prospect Rocco Santomauro (12-0) kept his perfect record intact by dominating Daniel Quevedo (13-15-3) over eight rounds.
Santomauro charged out of his corner a la Jake La Motta at the opening bell and dropped Quevedo just seconds into the round. He dropped him again towards the end of the round but Quevedo never appeared seriously hurt and survived the round.
Although the Argentine had a point deducted in the 7th round when his mouthpiece fell out for a third time, he cruised to an easy unanimous decision victory. The final tallies read 77-70 and 78-69 twice.
Local favorite Jesus "Chuy" Gutierrez (12-0) made quick work of Pablo Becerra (7-5), stopping him in the first round.
Gutierrez unloaded a barrage of punches that sent Becerra face first into the canvas and the referee immediately waved the fight off.
In the evening's opening fight, Donte Strayhorn (5-2) was upset by journeyman Joaquin Chavez (7-12) in their junior welterweight bout. Chavez made the fight rough on the inside to counteract Strayhorn's speed advantage throughout the fight. The judges favored Chavez aggressiveness and activity level.
The final tallies were 58-56 twice and 57-57 to give Chavez the majority decision victory. Strayhorn is promoted by 50 Cent's SMS Promotions.