Too much weight, too little excitement and two men fighting to win

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The title fight between undefeated IBF Lightweight champ Robert Easter Jr. and Javier Fortuna didn’t pan out as either boxer might have hoped.

Fortuna came in a pound and a half over the 135 lbs. limit…and made no legitimate effort to lose the extra ounces.

Not only did Fortuna pass up a chance at the title, he gave away a considerable sum in fines, penalties and purse reductions.

He did the same thing a few years ago when he was scheduled to defend an interim title. That time Fortuna couldn’t be bothered to lose a mere 12 ounces.

He grabbed, clinched and punched to the back of the head…

It brings to mind Shylock and the pound of flesh.

If I were in a championship fight and a few “excess ounces of me” were going to deny me a title belt, and cost me thousands and thousands of dollars…I’d make my own incision with a rusty ice cream scoop, and I’d spoon out as much of the offending adipose as I could before I blacked out.

Once I regained consciousness, I’d staple myself shut so I could still get into the ring.

But I value my pride more than I should.

This fight might have become nothing more than a bid for bragging rights and a revised payday. But when all was said and done there was nothing to boast about. Fortuna was overweight; Easter was underwhelming.

Despite enjoying an 8” reach advantage, Easter hardly threw a meaningful punch. He was never set. It was like he had no game plan.

Fortuna never stopped moving…nor did he allow rules to be an impediment. He grabbed, clinched, held while hitting, and punched to the back of the head so much that he had a point deducted in Round 2.

The slop-fest went the distance and the penalty made all the difference.

Easter eked out a split decision victory but without that point deduction it would have been declared a split draw.

Robert Easter Jr. extends his record to 21 and 0, with 14 KO’s.

***

The main event of the evening was for the IBF Welterweight title.

Reigning, defending, and undefeated champion Errol Spence Jr. put his belt on the line against Lamont Peterson.

These two looked virtually the same on paper…and in person.

They were practically identical in height, weight, reach and build. And with Spence a southpaw and Peterson orthodox, they were a mirror image.

But when the bell rang it was the champ that took charge.

Spence came out and banged to the body; making that investment early for dividends to come.

Peterson is known to take time to loosen up before moving smoothly, and Spence took advantage of Peterson’s “warm-up period” by sustaining a steady attack as he increased the tempo.

Peterson made a good accounting of himself in the 3rd, and the 4th was competitive, but everything boiled over in Round 5.

Spence followed in behind his jab and threw consecutive hooks around the outside of Peterson’s guard.

They landed flush to the face, and sent Peterson south.

He popped up, took the mandatory 8-count, and when the violence resumed it was at a fevered pace. But Peterson was not the same.

He hung in through Round 6 because he’s tough, and all heart.

But Spence was relentless. He continued to chip away through the 7th, landing to the body until Peterson’s arms were pulled tight to his flanks. Spence would then shoot uppercuts between the elbows and fire hooks to the head…all landing with authority.

Peterson’s corner could see the danger in allowing the bout to continue so they tossed in the towel, between rounds.

Errol Spence Jr. improves his campaign to 23 and 0, with 20 wins coming by way of knockout.

God Bless and avoid being underwhelming.

Mark Felicetti is much too prideful for his own good. Reach him at mark@tolucantimes.com.

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