By Joseph Herron: In one of the more highly anticipated preliminary bouts on the Pacaquaio/Marquez IV fight card, knock-out artist Javier Fortuna (21-0, 15 KOs) defeated Patrick Hyland (27-1, 12 KOs) with a surprisingly competitive twelve round unanimous decision. The judges at ringside scored the contest 118-110, 116-112, and 115-113.
The scheduled twelve round fight was for the interim WBA Featherweight Championship, and both men were looking for a sensational showing to attract bigger opportunities against the elite level fighters of the 126 pound weight class.
In the first two stanzas of the 126 pound fight, both men showed their opponent much respect and seemed surprisingly tentative to begin the match. But in the third round, Javier Fortuna began to realize that Patrick Hyland wasn’t planning to let his hands go early and began to open up with sharp straight left hands and right hooks around the tight guard of the cautious Irish fighter.
Although the hard punching Dominican fighter overwhelmingly landed more power shots than his opponent in rounds four and five, nothing seemed to detour Patrick Hyland. Fortuna seemed content with landing the occasional combination, then circling the Irish fighter with lateral movement on both sides of the ring.
In round six and seven, Hyland began to find mild success with the straight right hand, landing it sporadically while surprisingly moving forward as the aggressor. Fortuna seemed troubled with the aggression and began to seemingly waste energy moving laterally about the ring.
Javier Fortuna began to let his hands go after being reprimanded in the corner by trainer Pablo Sarmiento to begin round number eight. The hard punching Dominican easily won the round by outboxing Hyland, firing off combinations then stepping to the side and out of range.
In round nine, the fight became a little sloppy with Patrick Hyland throwing Javier Fortuna to the canvas and landing a low blow which halted the action on two separate occasions. Both men seemed perturbed for the remainder of the round and finally let their hands go with continuity.
Although Fortuna appeared to tire in the championship rounds, the favored slugger seemed content to win interim the title by merely out landing Hyland with sporadic shots and using lateral movement while staying out of harm’s way. Javier never gave the strong chinned Patrick Hyland enough opportunity to land anything substantial to turn the momentum of the contest.
The final punch stats showed that Javier Fortuna deserved the victory for not only landing the harder and more effective punches, but for connecting with more of them. Fortuna landed 169 of 431 total punches with a 38% connect ratio, and Hyland landed an anemic 89 of 277 total shots at 32%.
Despite winning his first major world title, Javier Fortuna did very little to capture the imagination of the fight fans in attendance and garner a big money fight with the top earners of the packed Featherweight division.