Jorge Fortea has been in the game long enough to know why he got the call for this fight.
He’s just grateful that he was approached far enough in advance to prepare for what he assures to be a major upset victory this weekend.
“This is boxing, Anything can happen,” Fortea said of his upcoming crossroads bout versus Xander Zayas. “I’ve prepared very well because they notified me of this fight ahead of time. Normally, I’m not notified ahead of time. That’s why I’m very prepared.”
Zayas-Fortea will air live this Saturday as the opening leg of a Top-Rank promoted doubleheader from Charles F. Dodge City Center in Pembroke Pines, Florida. WBO featherweight titlist Robeisy Ramirez (13-1, 8KOs) defends his title versus Guadalajara’s Rafael Espinoza (21-0, 18KOs) in the main event.
Both bouts are longshots according to the oddsmakers, though with the hard-hitting 6’1” Espinoza given a slightly fairer chance to shock the world. Spain’s Fortea enters as a +920 underdog according to BetMGM sportsbook, who lists Puerto Rico’s Zayas (17-0, 11KOs) as a healthy -2000 favorite in a ten-round bout less than 30 minutes from his current hometown of Sunrise, Florida.
The lopsided odds make sense on paper. Fortea (24-3-1, 9KOs) has fallen well short on the two occasions he’s fought outside of Spain, which happened to be the lone times he’s stepped up in class. The veteran fringe contender dropped a lopsided decision to Bakhram Murtazaliev in their November 2019 IBF junior middleweight title eliminator and was stopped in the third round by a now-retired Anthony Fowler in March 2021.
Still, the 33-year-old Spaniard was afforded a full training camp for this Saturday’s clash versus the 21-year-old Zayas, who has title aspirations in the year ahead. Fortea was brought in to provide a different look and a stiff test for the promising Boricua, though he has different plans in mind for Zayas’ homecoming affair.
“My goal right now is to win this fight,” insisted Fortea. “It will move me up the ladder and allow me to have more fights at this level.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. X (formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox