Undefeated 135-pound world champion Robert Easter (21-0, 14 KOs) earned a split decision victory over former world champion Javier Fortuna (33-2-1, 23 KOs) in the co-main event of the SHOWTIME telecast. The judges scored the bout 114-113, 113-114 and 115-112.
The back-and-forth bout saw two skilled fighters stay in the pocket and look to do damage from the inside. A second round point deduction from Fortuna proved costly when the Dominican was warned and then penalized for hitting Easter behind the head.
Without the one point deduction, the fight would have been scored a draw. While Easter Jr. was slightly busier, Fortuna landed the more powerful punches. Easter Jr., who held a significant height advantage, out landed Fortuna, connecting on 120 of 383 (31 percent) power punches while Fortuna connected on 113 of 441 (26 percent).
“It was a tough fight, he’s a former world champion for a reason,” Easter told Gray. “We made it tough trying to counter punch. He wasn’t throwing much and it made it difficult for me to chase this guy around.
“I couldn’t get the knockout but we got the win and that’s all that matters. I knew he was going to run once he felt my power. He just wanted to grab and hold the whole fight.”
Looking ahead, Easter made his intentions clear as he seeks unification bouts in the near future, “I want to fight the champions and unify these belts. Fights like these aren’t in my game plan. I’m ready for Mikey Garcia and Jorge Linares to sign the contract.”
A disgruntled Fortuna also spoke to Gray, “the public knows what happened here. They booed because they know that I won this fight.
“If he’s a man let’s fight again at 135-pounds,” said Fortuna, who failed to make weight on two attempts Friday, which meant that Easter’s belt would not be on the line. “I will definitely make the weight. I didn’t give myself enough time to train.”
All photos by Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing