In a one-sided fight, IBF lightweight title holder Robert Easter Jr. (19-0, 14 KOs) had an easy time pounding out a 12 round unanimous decision tonight over fringe contender Luis Cruz (22-5-1, 16 KOs) at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio. Cruz made a fight of it, but he didn’t have the weapons to compete on an even playing field with the 26-year-old Easter Jr.
The final scores reflected how one-sided the fight was with Easter Jr. winning by these set of score: 117-108, 119-106, and 118-107. Easter Jr. put Cruz down in the canvas in the 11th and 12th rounds. It was all Cruz could do to get up from those knockdowns. He was hurt both times in taking right hand power shots flush.
Where Easter went wrong with his tactics during the fight was his decision to trade with Cruz in close. The long-armed Easter Jr. spent a good portion of the time fighting Cruz on the inside when he had him with his back against the ropes in the last four rounds. Easter Jr. just as easily could have stepped back a foot to get more room to throw his power shots, and he would have had a good chance of knocking Cruz out fairly quickly in the fight.
Never the less, Easter Jr. made it exciting by fighting in close, because he was clearly giving Cruz a handicap by fighting that way. It’s doubtful that Easter Jr. would give the same handicap if he were fighting WBC champion Mikey Garcia or WBO champ Terry Flanagan.
Cruz looked like a good fighter at times. He landed some nice left hands to the head of Easter Jr. in rounds 6 and 9. He nailed Easter with some punches that seemed to halt his forward progress. Easter Jr. did not look like a happy camper when he was hit by Cruz’s big power shots in those rounds. The thing is, Easter Jr. had no choice but to put himself in harm’s way, as the boxing fans were cheering for him to try and finish off Cruz. Easter Jr. was fighting more for them seemingly than he was for himself. As such, Easter Jr. took chances that he normally wouldn’t have taken had he been inside the ring with a dangerous opponent.