By: William Holmes
On Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions will televise one of the first big fights of 2018 on the Showtime Network.
Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. will defend his IBF Welterweight Title against the entertaining and always tough Lamont Peterson in the main event of the night. The co-main event will be between Robert Easter Jr. and Javier Fortuna for the IBF Lightweight Title.
Photo Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime
Errol Spence has been calling out all the top welterweights and Lamont Peterson is one of the few to answer his call. A victory for either could lead to a welterweight unification fight with Keith Thurman.
The following is a preview of both televised world title bouts.
Robert Easter Jr. (20-0) vs. Javier Fortuna (33-1-1); IBF Lightweight Title
This bout was supposed to be for the IBF Lightweight Title, but Javier Fortuna came in at 136.8lbs during the weigh ins and had two hours to lose the two pounds for fight for the belt. It appeared unlikely that he will make it.
Easter is twenty six years old and two years younger than Fortuna. He will also have a very large five inch height advantage and a seven and a half inch reach advantage.
Both boxers had a successful amateur career, but Easter was able to become an Olympic alternate for the United States in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Fortuna has the edge in power. He has stopped twenty three of his opponents while Robert Easter only stopped fourteen of his opponents. Easter has been fairly active and fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016. Fortuna was able to fight twice in 2017 and three times in 2016.
Fortuna has spent most of his career fighting in the super featherweight division so size will be an issue for him. His lone loss was a shocking TKO loss to Jason Sosa in Beijing in June of 2016. He has defeated the likes of Omar Douglas, Marlyn Cabrera, Carlos Velasquez, Bryan Vasquez, Patrick Hyland, Yuandale Evans, and Abner Cotto.
Easter has never tasted defeat as a professional but won a close bout against Denis Shafikov in his last bout. He has defeated the likes of Luis Cruz, Richard Commey, Argenis Mendez, and Juan Solis.
The fact that Fortuna failed to make weight his first time on the scale is concerning, especially since he’s used to competing at a lighter weight class. Robert Easter’s size and reach advantage will be too much for Fortuna to overcome.
Errol Spence Jr. (22-0) vs. Lamont Peterson (35-3-1); IBF Welterweight Title
Errol “The Truth” Spence is one of the welterweight division’s biggest stars. Many consider him to be the next kingpin of the division post Pacquiao and Mayweather. His opponent, Lamont Peterson, is always in a good fight but this may be his last chance at a world title.
Spence is in the middle of his athletic prime at twenty seven and is six years older than Lamont Peterson. They have the same reach and Spence will have a slight one inch reach advantage on Peterson.
Spence has the edge in power and speed. He has stopped nineteen of his opponents, and is currently riding a nine fight stoppage streak. Peterson has only stopped seventeen of his opponents, and only one stoppage victory in his past five fights.
Peterson was a national golden gloves champion and experienced moderate success on the world stage as an amateur. Spence was also a national golden gloves champion, but he also was a member of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Spence has looked sensational recently, but only competed once in 2017 and twice in 2016. He has defeated the likes of Kell Brook, Leonard Bundu, Chris Algieri, Chris Van Heerden, Phil Lo Greco, and Ronald Cruz.
Peterson has not been so active and fought once in 2017 and twice in 2015. He has defeated the likes of David Avanesyan, Felix Diaz, Dierry Jean, Kendall Holt, and Amir Khan. His losses were to Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, and Timothy Bradley Jr.
Peterson’s biggest issue is his consistency. When he’s aggressive to the body he looks, at times, unstoppable. But as evident in his fight with Danny Garcia, he can be a slow starter and that often hurts him on the scorecards.
Peterson was impressed with Spence’s victory against Kell Brook. “”Errol even taking the Kell Brook fight was impressive to me. Most guys in his position take their time leading up to the first title shot, but he ended up fighting someone in his prime in his country. To will himself to that win was very impressive.”
Spence has looked untouchable and was very impressive in his fight against Kell Brook, in Kell Brook’s backyard.
Even Spence appears to know Peterson is a real challenge. He stated, “”I think it’s going to turn into a war. A lot of people have thought this would be an easy fight for me. But if you follow Lamont Peterson, you know this will be tough. He’s always in great shape and has a lot of skills. IT might be a dog fight and that’s what I wanted. He’s the guy who wanted to fight and I said of course. It’s going to be a rugged fight. Later on in the fights, he always gets rough and stands toe-to-toe.”
Even if Peterson is fighting at his best for all twelve rounds, it’s hard to imagine him beating Errol Spence.