By Mike Coppinger
On April 27, Sergio Martinez defends his middleweight crown against Martin Murray in his native Argentina on HBO, but this Friday, Martinez's stablemate Javier Fortuna fights for the first time in 2013, a Friday Night Fights main event against Miguel Zamudio.
Ace boxing talent evaluator Sampson Lewkowicz, who advises both Martinez and Fortuna, feels Fortuna is on the path to reaching Martinez's level.
"Fortuna will be the clone of Martinez in three years," said Lewkowicz of the 23-year-old Dominican "He is dedicated to his craft, is focused when he is not training in keeping a clean lifestyle and he's a devastating puncher."
On Thursday Fortuna suffered a minor setback when he failed to make weight, coming in at 127 and then at 126.6-pounds. He lost his WBA interim-title on the scale, which Lewkowicz blames on the fighter holding his training camp in the Dominican Republic without the involvement of his head trainer Pablo Sarmiento.
Fortuna (21-0, 15 KOs) is coming off a win over Snooki-promoted fighter Patrick Hyland in the opener of the Manny Pacquaio-Juan Manuel Marquez 4 PPV telecast from December. He's a top contender at 126 pounds but has also competed at 130, a flexibility that gives Lewkowicz many options as he approaches his premium network TV debut.
"I believe he will be the opening bout of a HBO WCB or Showtime Championship Boxing (card) after this fight Friday," said Lewkowicz. "He wants to challenge any 126-pound champion including Mikey Garcia, Daniel Ponce de Leon, Nicholas Walters and non-champions like Gary Russell -- he will beat them all. And he will go to 130 to face Juanma (Lopez) and (Yuriorkis) Gamboa."
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