Vergil Ortiz Jr. (20-0-0, 20 KOs) defeated Fredrick Lawson (33-4-0, 22 KOs) on Saturday night at The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas in Las Vegas via a questionable first-round stoppage by referee Tony Weeks.

Ortiz Jr., 25, returned from a 17-month layoff to make his debut in the junior middleweight division (156 pounds) and would have probably been better off with some more rounds to remove the rust.

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Lawson, 34, at no time looked wobbly while up against the ropes as Ortiz delivered blow after blow that mostly landed on his gloves. He’ll likely appeal the early stoppage.

Ortiz Jr. is not phased by the controversy and instantly set his sights on the division’s champion, Tim Tszyu, who he wants to fight in Australia.

Tony Weeks under fire for yet another bad stoppage

Weeks, 67, had another early stoppage in May 2023 when he gave Rolando Romero a TKO win over Ismael Barroso despite the final exchange including both fighters getting hit.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission has yet to address the issue nearly a year later and will likely do the same in Weeks’ latest controversy.

Ortiz Jr. probably would have won the fight against Lawson in the first few rounds, anyway, and deserves zero blame for Weeks’ early stoppage, but that won’t stop boxing fans from redirecting their frustrations at him.

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