Tonight’s co-main event features undefeated Robert Easter Jr. (20-0, 14 KOs) versus once-beaten former world champion Javier Fortuna (33-1-1, 23 KOs) at 135 pounds. What was supposed to be a fight for Robert Easter’s IBF World Title, is no longer the case as Fortuna failed to make the 135 pound weight limit.
When asked by Showtime’s Steve Farhood about the results, Fortuna blamed the weather. The 28-year-old Dominican lists his residence as Braintree, Mass.
“It’s a little difficult because of the weather,” he said through a translator. “I’m not used to the climate.”
To which Easter responded, “ He don’t really want to get in there. That’s unprofessional, I come and make weight all the time and it don’t hold me back in the fight. We gonna fight. There’s been too many words to back out of the fight. ”
Despite not making weight, we never really saw Fortuna posing much of threat to Easter’s IBF title. Easter’s long-rangy reach and height advantage, coupled with his hand speed and knockout power should dominate this fight from the beginning.
In Easter’s first successful IBF title defense against Luis Cruz, in February 2017, he scored knockdowns in rounds 10, 11 and 12 from right crosses, while his excellent jab (25.2 thrown/6.2 connects per round) and combination punching enabled him to dominate the action and win a wide unanimous decision (119-106, 118-107, 117-108). Easter Averaged 50.4 punches per round to Cruz’s 43.1 and led to leads of 198-119 overall, 75-23 jabs and 123-96 power as well as percentage gaps of 33%-23% overall, 24%-14% jabs and 42%-27% power. In the final three rounds Easter led 70-30 overall, 14-7 jabs and 56-26 power.
“ He don’t really want to get in there. That’s unprofessional, I come and make weight all the time and it don’t hold me back in the fight. We gonna fight. There’s been too many words to back out of the fight. ” – Robert Easter Jr.
Easter followed up with another title defense victory against the scrappy Russian, Denis Shafikov, in June of 2017. While the fight was far more competitive than the 120-108 and 116-112 scorecards submitted by two of the judges, Easter Jr. did control the fight from a distance (71% of total connects were to the head), while 57% of Shafikov’s connects were to the body and close range. Shafikov was more accurate while Easter was more
active and had more of the fight at his preferred range.
On the other side of the ring, Javier Fortuna steps in to the ring having his last four fights (2 by TKO and 2 by UD). In his last fight on US soil, against Omar Douglas, November 2016, Fortuna won a unanimous decision. Fortuna overcame a knockdown late in the first round and created a solid lead on the cards with movement, counterpunching and timely right hooks that caught Douglas coming in. An excellent 10th round saw the pair combine for 178 punches, 61 total connects and 56 landed power shots but Fortuna’s more consistent work and superior accuracy (31%-23% overall, 41%-28% power) enabled him to win 96-93 on two cards and 95-94 on the third.
On average, Fortuna prefers to fight on the inside, which he will most certainly have to do against Easter Jr. to have any shot at pulling the upset. Over has last four fights, he has thrown throws 40% more power punches than jabs and has landed his power punches at a higher connect percentage (33.8% power punches and 8.9% jabs). Overall, in his last four fights he has landed the same percentage of punches against his opponents as his opponents have landed against him (23.9%), which indicates that his defensive prowess needs some work, especially Easter Jr.
However, Fortuna doesn’t think he’s facing something he hasn’t seen before despite the height difference.
“I’ve seen speed, felt power and fought people who are taller than Easter,” said Fortuna, who was aiming to become the first Domincan-born boxer to win world titles in three different divisions.
“I think what most helps Easter is his height. Other than Easter being tall, he’s average. I think Easter will have a more difficult time adjusting to me than I will him.”
The fight starts tonight at 9PM EST on Showtime, and we have Robert Easter junior stopping Javier Fortuna by TKO in the 9th round, in what should be a hard fought bout by both fighters.