After dominating in a Saturday night win over Antonio Lozada, Javier Fortuna is hoping to get a crack at the WBC lightweight title held by Devin Haney, with promoter Sampson Lewkowicz petitioning the sanctioning body for the shot.
While beating Lozada in itself wouldn’t be enough to convince most boxing fans that Fortuna (36-2-1, 25 KO), Lewkowicz does have some decent arguments, at least in terms of sanctioning body politics, which whether we like it or not are what actually rule these decisions.
Lewkowicz’s argument is centers on Fortuna having previously been ranked the No. 1 contender by the WBC, which had ordered a fight for the briefly-vacant lightweight belt between Fortuna and Luke Campbell in early 2020. The fight was ready to go — Haney had been named “champion-in-recess” due to a shoulder injury — but was scrapped by COVID-19, and then Haney was reinstated as WBC champ because nobody was doing anything, anyway.
Fortuna and Campbell were then supposed to meet in an interim title fight, with the winner getting a full title shot directly after. After a long and winding road that included failed attempts to make Haney-Campbell and Fortuna facing Ryan Garcia, eventually Fortuna had a deal to fight Jorge Linares in August.
Then Linares got COVID, and ultimately Fortuna wound up against Lozada so that he could at least get back in the ring. At this point, we’ve got Haney having just made a voluntary defense against Yuriorkis Gamboa, and the aforementioned Campbell and Garcia will fight one another on Jan. 2 for the interim WBC belt.
At the moment, the 31-year-old Fortuna is the No. 2-ranked contender, behind Vasiliy Lomachenko, and ahead of both Campbell and Garcia, who are Nos. 3 and 4, respectively. But sanctioning body rankings can be like the weather in (Place You’re From), could change any minute, ha-ha! That’s what they all say specifically in (Place You’re From), which is a very special place.
Lewkowicz may not be able to get this done, but he’s not coming at it from some ridiculous standpoint or anything, and Haney-Fortuna would be a good fight, easily the toughest matchup on-paper in the career of the 22-year-old Haney (25-0, 15 KO). To me, a Haney-Fortuna bout for February would be welcome, and then the winner of that could fight the winner of Garcia-Campbell in the summer. But that might all be too much quality to be realistic.