Skip to content

Vergil Ortiz Jr. Claims Victory, Referee’s Decision Sparks Controversy

Referee Tony Weeks under fire for calling the fight too soon, leaving fans and media outraged

At The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Vergil Ortiz, 25, defeated Fredrick Lawson via first-round TKO in his comeback to the ring. Vergil Ortiz Jr. had won all 19 of his welterweight fights by stoppage before Saturday night. In the junior middleweight level, he has also just had his first stoppage.


Just two minutes into the bout, as Ortiz(20-0, 20KOs) from US launched his first offensive salvo, referee Tony Weeks called a stop to the action. It was an unexpectedly quick ending. As Ortiz pummeled Lawson’s head and body, he was in trouble, but Lawson(30-4, 22KOs) from Ghana never looked seriously injured or in danger. However, Weeks intervened without explanation before either boxer had raised a hand.


Without a doubt, Ortiz’s jab injured Lawson, but the veteran was doing a great job blocking his attacks and appeared eager to keep going, which made the Vegas crowd jeer and slam Weeks for calling the fight off early. Weeks said to Beto Duran that he saw Lawson’s eyes roll into the back of his head, which is why he broke up the fight.


But Ortiz wasn’t very happy with the victory because referee Tony Weeks came under fire for calling the fight too soon. “I think that he got saved. I was hurting him with all the jabs. I wasn’t really putting anything behind it,” said Ortiz in media reports.


“I wish I could have kept going. I need the rounds, but hey, I was hurting him with the jab. I stunned him with the jab and I didn’t even land it that hard, I’m sorry. Hey, I’m ready for anyone out there,” he added.


Even though he didn’t sweat much, Ortiz was happy to be back in the ring after a protracted absence. “This is my calling. This is what I live for,” said Ortiz.

Lawson, 34, objected to Weeks’ second odd stoppage in the previous seven and a half months. Boxing fans and the media were outraged weeks earlier by the veteran Nevada referee who, in an odd move, stopped the Rolly Romero-Ismael Barroso fight before it was finished in the ninth round at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

“What’s the latest with Florida Man?”

Get news, handpicked just for you, in your box.

Check out our free email newsletters

Recommended from our partners