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Robert Easter Jr. edges Javier Fortuna in non-title bout after foe missed weight

Robert Easter Jr. launches a left hook at Javier Fortuna during their hotly contested, often ugly 12-round non-title bout. Photo / @ShowtimeBoxing




20
Jan

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — You could argue Javier Fortuna lacked some professionalism leading up to his Saturday night scrap against IBF 135 champ Robert Easter. But on fight night, he looked like a super-crafty ring general in what was no ebb-and-flow classic at Barclays Center and on Showtime.

Through 12 tight rounds, the lefty from the Dominican Republic made Easter miss a bunch and used a mobility edge while clutching and grabbing when he wanted to. Easter had a hard time with the sneaky Fortuna, who showed more energy and focus tonight in the ring than he did cutting weight for the weigh-in.

They went to the cards, and most of us chatting on press row admitted that we had no idea what the judges’ perceptions would be.

Easter (who has surpassed Jamie Farr on the Toledo, Ohio, celeb ladder) was 134.5 on Friday, while Fortuna (living in Massachusetts) was 136.8 and couldn’t drop to 135 when given two hours to do so. Thus, he couldn’t win the crown, and even if Easter lost, he’d still retain his strap. 114-113 for Easter … 114-113 Fortuna … and the tie-breaker had it 115-112 … for Easter.

A point deduction for rabbit punching in Round 2 proved fatal for Fortuna.

The crowd disagreed, vehemently. They booed the decision … and booed loudly when Jim Gray interrogated Easter.

“It was a tough fight; he’s a former world champion for a reason. We made it tough trying to counterpunch. He wasn’t throwing much and it made it difficult for me to chase this guy around,” said the winner.

“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.” The crowd didn’t dig this statement.

“I want to fight the champions and unify this belt. Fights like these aren’t in my game plan. I’m ready for Mikey Garcia and Jorge Linares to sign the contract.

“No one can beat me. He just ran and held all fight. I apologize that I didn’t get the knockout, but the win is all that matters.”

“The public knows what happened here. They booed because they know that I won this fight,” Fortuna said.

“If he’s a man, let’s fight again at 135 pounds. I will definitely make the weight. I didn’t give myself enough time to train.”

Fortuna melted to 136.4 only. Easter, word was, was extra irked at the scale fail, being that Fortuna had chirped loudly in the lead-up to the tango, promising to administer a beatdown on the Ohioan. He also had the temerity to offer up a throat-slash gesture at the weigh-in stare-down — more than mildly surprising after he stepped in the ditch on the way to the scale.

Easter trainer Mike Stafford told me on Friday that his kid would now be working with an extra edge, because Fortuna had dissed the game with his unprofessionalism and antics.

Fortuna has been on pretty big stages for a while. He beat Patrick Hyland in December 2012, followed by Miguel Zamudio. He then edged up in weight and found success until losing to Jason Sosa via TKO 11 in June 2016. Fortuna, promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz, won four straight to bring him to this point.

Not sure the number, but Easter (aka E-Bunny) drew a good number of fans, presumably most of them from Ohio.

In the first, Easter, possessing a huge height advantage, started smart and measured.

In the second, Fortuna got chippy and the ref took a point for rabbit-punching. He was shaking his head, yapping at Easter, looking like his confidence was high, at the end of the round.

In the third, E got started quicker. Fortuna did too, and he made Easter miss bad a couple times. They were clinch-y, finding a rhythm and tone. Fortuna now pressed more; he liked his chances on the attack.

In the fourth, Fortuna kept on being confident. He darted and moved smartly, clinched when he wanted to. Some boo-birds started chirping.

In the fifth, we saw more clinching. This tone was to Fortuna’s liking. The taller man wasn’t imposing his height and reach.

In the sixth, Easter wanted to come out harder. He closed distance some, but again Fortuna clinched up and stymied the champ. More boos with a minute left. Fortuna saw Easter loading up and was easily slipping launches. Then Fortuna scored, twice. A counter left after a right landed clean and earned him the round, arguably.

In the seventh, Fortuna was moving when and where he wanted. Easter told Fortuna to engage.

In the eighth, more of the same rhythm and tone. Fortuna was in charge of the pace and it looked like he was winning, to my ringside-ish eyes. To 9; Fortuna went down — nope, it was a slip. He was flurrying and getting out of range. Easter found the range better late … was Fortuna slowing down?

In round 10, we saw Easter flurry and clutch and almost fall. Fortuna was dictating the range and terms of engagement most of the time.

In 11, in tight, Fortuna was accurate and sharp. They were banging, face to face, not clinching. Tough round to score, as were many.

In the 12th, nobody managed to score a knockdown or knockout, so we’d have to wait and hope the judges saw a reasonable facsimile of what we did.

Follow Woods on Twitter. 





  • ceylon mooney

    no one can beat me. jesus. u just got beaten. fortuna, against the ropes, was landing 7 shots inna row.

    hearin the whole arena boo the dexision was somethin else.

    u could see that one comin a mile away. told my GF this is how theyd do fortuna and ill b damned they did him.

    as i said, garcia would have NO problem with this guy. fortuna sure as shit had his number. dirty coupla rounds thats for sure.missed weight on purpose and all, BUT…nice robbery.

    • jebib

      Explain missing weight on purpose, please. Your comments on the fight are spot on but I’m a homer for Easter. All I can say is I’ll take a cheap win over a character building loss every time.

      • ceylon mooney

        i think its as simple as he just didnt bother cuz it wouldnt be of any help. from fortunas point of view, why not make it easier on himself? why bother sweatin off the extra few pounds? why bother with having to recover? thats a lot of work he just didnt bother with. all he had to concern himself with was the fight, which is a HUGE advantage if it works in your favor.

        he knew it, too right? he cant win but he can sure as hell beat easter.

        also, from what i could tell, he ben walkin around at his weigh in weight for a coupla weeks. all he did between the two weigh ins was take a piss.

    • Floridastorm

      Since when does a referee not even give Fortuna one warning before taking a point away? Fortuna was hitting Easter 4 or 5 times as he was bending down and coming forward so naturally the punches were landing behind Easter’s neck. How is Fortuna supposed to hit Easter clean under that circumstance? The referee and judges were in Easter’s pocket from the get go.

      • ceylon mooney

        i dont have no prob with the penalty point–that was some over the top rabbit punching, pounding on the back a the dudes head repeatedly.

        and 5’11’ easter spent an awful lotta time with his head in fortunas stomach WTF?!?

        but u right those scorecards were filled out the night before!

  • James Otis

    Crowd was booing ’cause he didn’t get the KO. What a load.

    • ceylon mooney

      that was funny as
      hell. what a goofy-ass comment.

    • Ten Count Toronto

      I thought it was half decent improvised spin management for a fighter put on the spot at the in-ring interview and to delect the issue without badmouthing the crowd directly or spouting off on Grey.

  • IRISHBOXING NUT STEVIE

    easter has not looked impressive at all lately .
    garcia takes him out early imo.

    • Fist_ti_cuffs

      Not early, but fairly easily.

    • Ten Count Toronto

      He seems years way from being ready for the Garcia’s & Lomachenkos of the world and I suspect Berchelt would beat him if he moved up. But he might have an outside shot at wearing down an aging Linares at some point next year if he can stand up to the punches.

      • IRISHBOXING NUT STEVIE

        tbh i see linares boxing circles around him. All he seems to have is height and fighters like linares , loma and Garcia have all the tools necessary to navigate it .
        i could even see Luke Campbell beating him.
        He is the most likely lightweight to lose his title this year if he steps up his competition. I have always struggled to see what the hype was about and after this fight i wont be changing my view of him.

        • D. Gambino

          I feel Linares would struggle a bit with Easter but should be able to get a close win (probably split decision).

          I do agree with you that Campbell beats Easter and Easter is the one most likely to lose his belt.

          • Chris Stans

            I think if Linares can land on Campbell enough to win, he won’t have any problem with Easter’s length

          • D. Gambino

            Linares did land enough on Campbell to win but it was a really tough fight for him and a bit tough to watch. Let’s be honest – Linares struggled against Campbell.

            Linares would struggle against Easter but not enough to lose. I’d favor Linares to win by decision in that fight. It wouldn’t be exciting though.

          • Chris Stans

            He definitely struggled…a lot. But I think Luke being a southpaw was a big factor, and I’d say Campbell may be a better boxer than Easter

          • D. Gambino

            True. The southpaw definitely makes it tougher.

            I have no doubts in mind here Chris – Campbell IS superior to Easter in boxing. Easter may have more power but technique and skill are all in Campbell’s favor.

            Campbell should go after Easter to get that belt. I’d favor Campbell to beat Easter right now.

  • James Otis

    Foul in the 2d round wasn’t the difference in the fight. The difference in the fight had nothing to do with what went on in the ring. Fight was judged before the first bell sounded.

    • ceylon mooney

      plain as day, as it so often is.

    • Ten Count Toronto

      I don’t think the 115-111 was that outrageous in that so many rounds were similar and if a judge was committed to favoring Easters volume & forward movement and turned off by Fortuna’s economy, then he could end up with that many rounds for Easter.

      • Cashtime

        fight would have been a shutout or knockout had Fortuna just fight the man. Its as if the holding was part of his teams strategy. I could see if he was tiring but he appeared fresh. His defense aside from grabbing shut ALL of Easters offense down. He couldn’t land a consistent jab or right hand. Frustrating = Fortuna

        • Ten Count Toronto

          I agree a better version of Fortuna would have won with more separation. Not sure about the KO though, Easter is stubborn and he seemed to aclimate to Fortuna’s delivery as the fight went on. Fortuna looked frash because he wasn’t hit with many punches that had any snap or leverage and because he didn’t work much offensively. I dont think he was in great shape, his body looked a lot like James Toney used to look at 160 & 168. The holding was justified to limit how much Easter can use his head inside but I didn’t look good and it wasn’t going to help get a decision off the house fighter – no win situation there.

  • Chris Stans

    All of his best wins are hotly contested. I don’t want to see anyone hyping this guy anymore.

  • Ten Count Toronto

    It shaped up as an ugly fight and that’s pretty much what happened. Fortuna did land much more of the cleaner punches, but he did it very infrequently and even then mostly when the fighters were tangled up in close so there was a good chance one or two judges wouldn’t have a good view of Fortuna slipping in those shots in close.

    He had to know it was going to be unlikely to get a decision off the house fighter spending so much time against the ropes, backpedaling and headlocking – although Easter was spearing with his head so much it was perfectly reasonable for Fortuna to control that head and prevent it coming up so that shouldn’t have been held against him.

    I had it 5:4 with 3 even so a Draw after the point deduction but i wasn’t trying very hard to score it, I’ll need to see it again some time when I can’t sleep anyway.

  • Ten Count Toronto

    Easter looked like what I imagine Paul Williams would have looked like his first few months of sparring. I appreciate that he wants to engage, just lacks skills.

    He says “..He wasn’t throwing much and it made it difficult for me to chase this guy around” Umm, you’re half a foot taller than the guy and you spent half the fight with your face in his belly! How about shuffling in with your feet apart behind a JAB!

    I appreciate that he wants to engage but he really needs help with his methods and techniques.

  • Oleg Hrustalev

    Looks
    like we have a new chief judges darling favourite and that’s Robert Easter.For
    the third time in three years, the judges giving him undeserving victories.In a
    fight with Commey at best he deserved a draw but got a win.The battle with
    Shafikov he clearly lost,but two judges
    gave him all the rounds in that fight,which took place in Easter’s hometown.And
    today,despite the dirty tactics of Fortune,he landed more clean and crisp
    punches, and won but not receive the victory.The first big fight of the year
    and unfair judging already. What’s
    next?

  • Wade Wilson

    One thing that got to me was the complaining from the commentators that 115-112 was too wide. That’s seven rounds to five with the deduction. You can’t get closer in rounds without a draw.

    • Bar Kokhba

      I’m often surprised at how much trouble boxing commentators have with simple math…

  • Cashtime

    Fortuna has been around for a while now but for the life of me I can’t understand how he almost gives away rounds by holding. Easter could not land cleanly on him but he befuddled Easter every time he let his hands fly, which were faster and harder. He seems to be in great condition yet he fights like he’s preserving energy by wrestling, tangling and holding Easter instead up punching him. Still I how did Easter win the fight. I sware he wasn’t landing anything. Just a frustrating fight to watch overall.

    • James Otis

      Easter can bluster all he wants. Al won’t let Easter in with Garcia. Easter can’t get a decision if he’s KO’d.

  • monsterUcreated

    Javier Fortuna easily won 8-10 rounds.

  • Floridastorm

    Another terrible decision. Fortuna won this fight Easter did not. Fortuna has twice the skills of Easter who looked slow and sloppy. What fight were these judges watching, anyway? Nearly 70% of the TV audience voted that Fortuna won the fight. And the interview with Easter after the fight shows he’s a self centered arrogant fool. Never gave Fortuna any respect.

  • romeo adorado

    easter not in the same class as linares or mikey. careful what you wish for. did not look impressive. fight could have gone either way. with his height advantage and more talent, he is still a b/c fighter. thought he was better, but hasn’t improved with the competition.

  • Black Oracle

    You ain’t ready for prime time Easter

  • Left Hook2

    Before we hate on Easter, let’s at least appreciate that he comes to fight. He isn’t great but he is in entertaining fights. I thought he lost by a point, and I feel compubox had the punch counts all wrong. I think whoever was counting Fortuna felt that if it wasn’t a clean, unimpeded shot, it was not going to count it. New shill, loser judge…KEVIN MORGAN. He had Garcia beating Thurman 8-4 in rounds, and had the 115-111 card as well. I’m going to keep digging up info on this guy to see if he has even a clue about how to score a fight. Yes, it’s ‘only’ 7 rounds to 5 but I find it hard to find 7 where Easter seemed to be in control.