Former champions Robert Easter Jr. and Rances Barthelemy both considered Saturday night’s WBA lightweight “regular” title fight a must-win in order to take back championship belts lost.
In the end, however, following a fight that featured precious little action and contact from the opening bell, neither got that needed victory. Their 12-round bout, nationally televised on Showtime from the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, ended in a split decision draw, and the title remained vacant.
BoxingAfrica.com scored the bout 115-113 for Easter.
Amazingly, neither Easter (21-1-1, 14 KOs), who had lost his 135-pound title to Mikey Garcia last July, nor Barthelemy (27-1-1, 14 KOs) landed as many as 10 punches in any of the 12 rounds in a fight that was difficult to score and just as difficult to watch at times.
Judge Eric Cheek scored it 115-113 for Barthelemy, Tim Cheatham had it 115-113 for Easter and Glenn Trowbridge scored it 114-114.
Easter landed a paltry 54 punches over the 12 rounds and Barthelemy only 52 in a tactical fight that found both men, each known to be excellent counter-punchers, keeping their distance and mostly staying out of reach of the other’s power. Barthelemy started out in an orthodox stance but switched to southpaw in the third round, and stayed with it the rest of the way.
Naturally, both fighters felt they won the contest.
“I figured it was close but I figured I edged it out towards the end,” said Easter, the only boxing champion from Toledo, Ohio. “He didn’t want to come in and do nothing…Rances Barthelemy is a crafty fighter and stayed away from my power. And I was smart, too, on my end and didn’t take much punishment. I applied the pressure but the judges seen it a different way.”
Barthelemy, the Cuban defector and two-time champion, said, “I don’t want to disparage the job Robert Easter and what his (trainer) father did in his corner, but it’s not the Robert Easter we expected. We expected a fight and we didn’t see that, and I thought I definitely won the fight today.”
Asked why the lack of action, Barthelemy said, “We know that Robert Easter is a fighter that attacks, but he didn’t attack in this fight. Maybe in the ninth round he came in and lunged at me, but he never did it in the fight.”
Barthelemy said he felt very bad and believed he won the fight. He said he needs the belt and wants a rematch. Easter Jr. said he would be happy to oblige.
Viktor Postol dominates Mohamed Mimoune in title eliminator
At 35 and having lost two of his last four, there was plenty of doubt about whether former 140-pound champion Viktor Postol had any title hopes remaining.
But “The Iceman” answered his doubters Saturday with a dominating 10-round unanimous decision over light-hitting Frenchman Mohamed Mimoune, proving he has plenty left and putting himself in the mix for another title fight.
Postol, from Ukraine and fighting out of Los Angeles under Freddie Roach, won by scores of 98-92, 97-93 and 99-91 over Mimoune, who was making his U.S. debut in a fight that didn’t seem even as close as the cards suggested.
Postol dictated the pace early on, and in the middle rounds overcame the awkward southpaw style of his opponent, which included a tackle or two, and plenty of clinching. Postol kept his cool throughout the fight, and now finds himself back in the title hunt.
“I always try to stay disciplined,” Postol said. “I can’t say it was tough, but the opponent was awkward…it’s great to be here.”
The victory gives Postol a possible shot at Jose Ramirez, who now owns the WBC title once held by Postol.
“Of course, I would like to meet Ramirez and fight for the belt again,” said Postol.