The co-feature for Errol Spence Jr’s maiden world title defence against Lamont Peterson, sees the return of Robert Easter Jr, as the IBF Lightweight champion defends against highly rated Javier Fortuna.
Easter 20-0(14KO’s) has made back-to-back unanimous decision defences of his title following a split decision win over Richard Commey in late 2016.
He first burst on to the scene when demolishing the still capable Argenis Mendez in 5 rounds, but after his power made the headlines early on, it was his stamina and chin that has made him a worthy champion in a stacked Lightweight division.
He was dropped and rocked by Commey in a highly entertaining vacant title fight, before showing his power late on in both the aforementioned bout and his defence against Luis Cruz – in which he dropped the challenger three times in the championship rounds.
But the wide scorecards in his latest defence against the rugged Denis Shafikov could not shadow a poor performance.
In Fortuna, he faces an experienced but smaller opponent, and that is significant when you consider that Easter is already tall and has considerable range for a Lightweight.
Fortuna 33-1-1(23KO’s) has held the WBA Super Featherweight title, but he was shot off the top in 2016 when stopped by Jason Sosa in the 11th.
Fortuna has rebuilt since, but the Dominican Republic boxer still carries that exciting but vulnerable style that can be exposed once again when he meets Easter in Brooklyn.
Fortuna will look more than the part in the opening 6 or 7 rounds, working awkward angles from the southpaw stance.
Inside those opening sessions, Easter will be forced to bide his time as Fortuna proves a tricky customer from both the outside and the inside.
But it is as the fight wears on that Easter’s meticulous approach pays off, with the jab in particular paying dividends.
As Easter slowly breaks Fortuna down, he could force a late halt in proceedings. But the pick is for the challenger to hear the final bell, and Easter to be declared a winner on the scorecards.