Robert Easter Jr. defeats Luis Cruz – Results
By Jim Dower: IBF World lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr. (19-0, 14 KOs) kept his unbeaten record intact on Friday night in defeating #15 Luis Cruz (22-5-1, 16 KOs) by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision on Premier Boxing Champions on Bounce TV at the Huntington Center, in Toledo, Ohio, USA. The judges scored the fight 117-108, 119-106, and 118-107.
Boxing News 24 scored the fight 11 rounds to 1 for Easter Jr. The only round that you can argue that Cruz deserved was the 9th. That was a round that Cruz caught Easter Jr. with a powerful right hand to the head that caused him to hold on. When Easter Jr. let go of Cruz, he retreated and spent the remainder of the round trying not to get hit. Cruz fought well enough to deserve the round, but he still took a lot of big shots from Easter.
Easter knocked Cruz down with right hands in round 11 and 12, but he was unable to finish him off. Cruz, 31, did a good job of taking Easter’s big power shots and retaliating with his own shots. Unfortunately for Cruz, he lacked the punching to take advantage of Easter’s leaky defense. Easter smothered his own work much of the time by choosing to fight Cruz on the inside when having him trapped against the ropes in rounds 9 through 12.
It’s unclear why the 5’11” Easter Jr. chose to fight in close because he was a much better puncher when he was on the outside getting leverage on his shots. It might have been a thing of courage on his part for Easter for him to be fighting on the inside. Whatever the case, it wasn’t smart. He made the job much harder for himself, and probably ruined his chances of knocking Cruz out.
Easter Jr. wanted to score a knockout by the 6th, but he wasn’t able to hurt Cruz with anything when he tried to go for a knockout in that round. Cruz was fighting back hard each time Easter Jr. would land a meaningful shot. Cruz was very tough. He took some really hard punches in the 11th and 12th rounds. The punches that knocked Cruz down likely would have knocked out most fighters in the lightweight division.
This was not the type of performance by Easter Jr. that compares to what Mikey Garcia did last money in stopping WBC lightweight champion Dejan Zlaticanin. Mikey looked a lot better than Easter Jr. did tonight, and a lot more powerful. It’s hard to imagine Cruz being able to last the full 12 rounds against Mikey Garcia. Easter Jr. is going to need to up his game if he wants to be able to compete with the accomplishments of Mikey.
Easter Jr. does not look nearly as good as Mikey. If they were to fight each other right now, I’d have to pick Mikey to win, and I think most boxing fans would agree to that. Easter Jr. needs to learn how to fight at a distance in order to take advantage of his height and reach. There was no reason why Easter Jr. should have given up his two-inch height advantage over the 5’9” Cruz tonight. He didn’t need to do that, and yet he did in most of the rounds.
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