Javier Fortuna managed a 5th round knockout of Abner Cotto in a bizarre bout Saturday evening at UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois.
The super featherweight battle was ugly, wild and featured some of the worst officiating in recent memory. Fortuna was declared a knockdown victim in round two, the sequence coming as the result of three consecutive blows to the base of his skull.
Referee Lou Hall - who, according to his BoxRec.com profile had never before worked a bout scheduled for more than eight rounds - somehow managed to rule the sequence a knockdown and a foul. Fortuna was issued a full eight count, after which Cotto was deducted one point for the blatant foul.
The cleanest round of the fight was also Cotto's best frame, coming in round three. Fortuna never really seemed to have much of a game plan, amateurishly bouncing around the ring and rarely committing to his punches.
Things began to unravel in round four. Fortuna was once again nailed behind the head, as well as well below the belt before being shoved to the canvas by Cotto, who seemed proud of the act as he pounded his chest while being sent to a neutral corner.
The round ended with both fighters jawing at one another. Rather than walk a few more steps to his corner, Fortuna stopped, took the bait and wildly swung at Cotto well after the bell. The punch missed, but didn't stop Cotto from showing his acting chops, dropping to his knees and playing the role of victim.
It was hardly his last piece of theater on the night. Fortuna connected with a body shot and then left hand upstairs midway through round five. The punches were just enough to prompt Cotto to find the nearest exit, flopping to the canvas for the full ten count.
The official time was 1:32 of round five.
Fortuna's record advances to 26-0-1 (18KOs). The former featherweight champ is now campaigning in the super featherweight division, where he is 4-0-1 since moving up in weight.
It remains to be seen how long he can last at the weight. For Saturday's bout, he came in under weight for Friday's weigh-in, but entered the ring at a whopping 147 lb.
The bout served as the opener of a Showtime-televised tripleheader, also featuring Tomoki Kameda in a bantamweight title defense versus Alejandro Hernandez, and light heavyweight contender Andrzej Fonfara versus Doudou Ngumbu.
Former three-division champion Koki Kameda (33-1, 18KOs) picked up a fourth round stoppage win over veteran contender Omar Salado (24-9-2, 15KOs) in a high impact bout.
The bout marked Kameda's debut in the super flyweight division, as he eyes a title shot versus countryman Kohei Kono. It was also his first in the United States and second straight bout outside of his native Japan, where he and his family have been indefinitely banned.