Robert Easter struggled against an aggressive and effective Javier Fortuna Saturday, but came out with a razor-thin split decision victory to remain undefeated and retain his IBF lightweight world title.
The title wasn't on the line for Fortuna after he came in overweight at Friday's weigh-in.
Easter (21-0, 14 KO's), 26, of Toledo, Ohio, won on scores of 114-113, 115-112, and 113-114. FightNights.com had it 114-113 for Fortuna. Fortuna was deducted a point in the second round for rabbit punching, which turned out to be the deciding factor.
This is the second consecutive fight that Easter has been the beneficiary of a controversial scorecard against a southpaw opponent. He defeated Denis Shafikov by unanimous decision in June, and many ringside observers believed Shafikov deserved the win.
Easter was still his outspoken self despite another tough, grueling affair.
“I’d like to fight the champions and unify these belts. Fights like this, they don’t really matter," Easter said. "I’m trying to fight the champions of this weight class. I’m trying to fight Mikey Garcia and Jorge Linares.
"I got the W, and that’s all that matters."
Fortuna thought he won the fight.
"The public knows what happened. They booed because they know that I won,” he said through a translator.
Whether Easter remains a top contender at 135-pounds after tonight is up for debate.