In the main event, current welterweight title-holder Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. (23-0, 20 KO’s) defended his title for the first time, stopping former two-division belt-holder Lamont Peterson (25-4-1, 17 KO’s), in the eighth round, Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn New York.
Spence, a former 2012 Olympian, has not fought since he kayoed former titleholder Kell Brook in May of 2017 to win the welterweight title.
Spence, a Texas native, used his jab well and landed some good straight let hands to the body in the opening round. The action picked up over the next few rounds, as has both warriors landed some good shots.
As the fight went on, Spence, 27, started to show his class. He began to land combinations and eventually dropped the former titlist in the fifth round with a right hook, left hand combination.
Peterson, 33, had some really good moments, landing some stiff right hands and body shots of his own, but started to limit his output as the fight wore on. This played right into the southpaw’s hands, as Spence continued to pressure and land power shots.
Spence would dominate the rest of the fight, which ultimately lead to Peterson’s corner deciding to stop it before the start of round eight. The Texas native lead 70-62 on all three cards at the time of the stoppage.
161 / 526
23 / 247
138 / 279
45 / 158
9 / 43
36 / 115
Spence after the fight said, “I want to thank Lamont. A lot of guys turned the fight down and he took it like a true warrior and I commend him for that.”
“Everybody knows I’ve been waiting on ‘sometimes’ Thurman. Since I was 15-0, I’ve been calling this guy out and he keeps making excuses. Let’s get it on. I want Keith Thurman, He has two of the belts and we both have big names. It’s an easy fight to make and I want it. “
Peterson, who was stopped for only the second time in his career, praised the young strap-holder after the fight: “He was getting shots on me early. He was the better man tonight.”
The classy Peterson also showed respect for longtime trainer Barry Hunter’s decision to stop the fight. “I always respect Barry’s decision. If he asks me to fight a million people, I will. If he asks me to stop, I will stop. I will never question his decision. I know he has my best interests at heart.
Barry Hunter would later go on to say, “It was really hard, but if you know Lamont, you know he was not going to give up. So I had to stop it. At the end of the day, this is my son right here. And there’s nothing more valuable than his well-being. If it comes to him or winning, I pick him. I care about him.”
Spence is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the talent-laden welterweight division. I think the biggest fight for the young pound-for-pounder is with former junior-welterweight champion Terrence Crawford. Crawford is scheduled to challenge Australian Jeff Horn in April for a portion of the welterweight title.
In the co-feature, former 2012 Olympian and current lightweight belt-holder Robert Easter Jr. (21-0, 14 KO’s), defended his title for the third time Saturday night, by scoring a controversial majority decision over former super-featherweight titlist Javier Fortuna (33-2, 23 KO’s). The judges scored the bout 114-113 and 115-112 for Easter, while the other judge had it 114-113 for Fortuna.
Easter, 26, who has not fought since June of 2017 when he defeated the tough Denis Shafikov, looked good in the opening round. He used his long reach advantage to keep the shorter Fortuna at bay.
The action started heating up in round two when both fighters picked up the pace. That was until Fortuna was deducted a point for hitting behind the head. Following the point deduction, however, Fortuna took the fight to the belt-holder in the third, landing some good combinations.
Fortuna, who failed to make weight at yesterday’s weigh in, would continue to use his movement and southpaw angles to offset Easter’s rhythm for the next few rounds. But in round nine the lanky Ohioan started to turn up the pressure, landing some straight right hands and body shots.
With the fight pretty much even going into the tenth round, Easter, the Toledo native, kept trying to push the fight. He constantly pressured Fortuna and landed some good body shots and right hands. Fortuna would also do some good work as he was able to land some good combinations.
With the fight on the line, both combatant’s put it out there. The defending titlist again tried to press the quicker Fortuna, but it was Fortuna who seemed to get the better of the exchanges. While it seemed like the Dominican Republic native did enough to win, it was ultimately the point deduction in round two that would cost him.
With the crowd booing following the decision, Easter said “I couldn’t get the knockout but we got the win and that’s all that matters. I knew he was going to run once he felt my power. He just wanted to grab and hold the whole fight.”
Following his second career loss, Fortuna said, “The public knows what happened here. They booed because they know I won this fight.”
I am interested to see where Easter takes his career from here. This was a less than stellar performance by the highly-ranked lightweight. With Mikey Garcia and Jorge Linares also in the lightweight division, the former Olympian is going to need to bring his A-game to beat those guys.