Javier Fortuna got to Carlos Velasquez early, and he without a doubt got to him late, as the 130-pound world champion from the Dominican Republic thoroughly outclassed his opponent in his first title defense in front of a rowdy Las Vegas crowd at the Palms Casino Resort on Tuesday night.

Fortuna took his time to bow to the crowd on all three sides of the ring before the opening bell. It wouldn’t be the last bit of theater Fortuna (29-0-1, 21 KOs) displayed on the evening. He shuffled, he danced, he mugged for the cameras and he windmilled his right hand as if to deliver a bolo punch.

But his best bit of schtick was saved for the 10th round when he turned a perfect somersault in the ring right after referee Russell Mora pulled  Fortuna off Carlos Velasquez (19-2, 12 KOs) and half tossed him to the center of the ring while waving off the bout at 35 seconds.

Fortuna came out a relentless whirlwind of knuckles and leather, ducking under the taller Velasquez’s slower, winging rights and battering him on the inside. The assault got to Velasquez in the second when Fortuna pinballed his opponent’s head with a combination that put him off balance and on the canvas.

Another tsunami of punches started the third, and a bewildered Velasquez, blood streaming from his nose, defiantly waved Fortuna forward for more. It was a brave showing, and curiously, Fortuna seemed unwilling to oblige.

He deftly avoided anything Velasquez cared to throw, but didn’t show that same wolverine-in-a-canvas-sack tenacity that he did through the first three rounds.

“I knew I got him with a good shot [in the second],” Fortuna said. “But I hurt my hand. I didn’t throw my left hand much after that. If I was good with my hands, after the fifth? He wouldn’t have lasted that long.”

It wasn’t until the end of the eighth that Fortuna catapulted back into serious action. He hammered away at Velasquez on the ropes, but the bell ended the attack. The same happened in the ninth.

It was a different story in the 10th. Fortuna pinned Velasquez in his own corner and went to work with a dizzying array of shots. Velasquez tried to escape, but Fortuna followed him to a neutral corner and then along the ropes the other way before Mora stepped in and ended it.

“I knew it was just a matter of time that I’d get him again,” Fortuna said.
On that, he couldn’t have been more correct.

For full highlights of Fortuna vs Velasquez, including photo and video, check out our fight page.