Robert Easter Jr had his trouble with the awkward Javier Fortuna tonight in Brooklyn, but in the end came out of it with a split decision victory, officially retaining his IBF lightweight title, which wasn’t on the line for Fortuna after he missed weight on Friday.
Easter improved to 21-0 (14 KO) with the victory, which came on scores of 114-113, 115-112, and 113-114. BLH was also split, with Wil Esco scoring it 115-112 for Easter, while I had it 115-112 for Fortuna.
Easter, 26, had his second straight tough outing against a southpaw opponent, following last year’s win over Denis Shafikov, a fight that was much closer than the scores from the judges. This one was scored close, and should have been.
Easter was largely unable to use his superior height and reach to his advantage, as Fortuna buzzed around him like a gnat and made things difficult for the Toledo native. Fortuna, 28, probably did his best work counter punching.
When all is said and done, a point deduction early in the fight, in round two, handed Fortuna (33-2-1, 23 KO) his second pro loss. Without that, this would have been a split draw, with cards of 114-114, 115-113 Fortuna, and 115-113 Easter.
Fortuna was penalized for hitting Easter behind the head, and had been sternly warned for holding Easter’s head down while throwing uppercuts previously.
Easter was still outspoken about unifying the division and fighting the top lightweight names after the bout.
“I’d like to fight the champions and unify these belts. Fights like this, they don’t really matter. I’m trying to fight the champions of this weight class. I’m trying to fight Mikey Garcia and Jorge Linares,” Easter told Jim Gray.
He added, “I got the W and that’s all that matters,” while also saying that the Brooklyn crowd was booing not because they felt he lost, but because he failed to get the KO. This is debatable.
“The public knows what happened. They booed because they know that I won,” Fortuna said through a translator. The two argued a bit about Fortuna missing weight before parting ways.