By Keith Idec
Lou DiBella isn’t certain whether Javier Fortuna’s power will be as effective against an elite-level lightweight as it was when he knocked out opponents in lower weight classes.
DiBella does know that the extremely confident Fortuna isn’t bluffing when he says he is coming to take out Robert Easter Jr. on the Errol Spence Jr.-Lamont Peterson undercard Saturday night in Brooklyn. Easter (20-0, 14 KOs) is a 4-1 favorite over Fortuna (33-1-1, 23 KOs), who has held world titles at featherweight and super featherweight.
“Fortuna is gonna go balls to the wall to try to hurt Easter,” said DiBella, the promoter of Saturday’s card at Barclays Center. “I think he feels that’s what he has to do. Therefore, I think you’re gonna see some combustion for as long as that fight goes.”
The 26-year-old Easter, of Toledo, Ohio, will make his third defense of the IBF 135-pound championship in the opener of Showtime’s doubleheader (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
The 5-feet-11 defending champion owns a five-inch height advantage and a seven-inch reach advantage over Fortuna. Easter has won each of his three lightweight title bouts by decision, but is determined to knock out the Dominican southpaw, who was stopped in the 11th round of his lone loss by former WBA 130-pound champ Jason Sosa (20-3-4, 15 KOs) in June 2016.
“I think Robert Easter is a problem for most people in this weight class,” DiBella said. “He’s very long. Technically, he’s very sound. He can do a lot of things in there. He’s a good, young champion. Fortuna has been talking a tremendous amount of smack. Fortuna has always had power, but he’s moving up in weight. Now, he believes that power is gonna translate and he’s running around prognosticating a knockout.
“I don’t think there’s any way it’s gonna be a boring fight. I think it’ll be a fun fight for as long as it goes. I think the young champion has gotta be favored against a smaller guy. But this is one of those situations where the smaller guy can punch and the smaller guy has got nothing to lose. If he loses, he says, ‘Hey, I came up in weight. I’m the smaller guy.’ If his power really translates at the higher weight, then we might see something interesting.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.