Robert Easter Jr. has been friends with Adrien Broner for a long time.
But unlike the embattled four-division champion, who recently completed a 30-day stint in jail, Easter carries himself a little differently outside the ring. He’s polite. Respectful, yet confident.
What he shares with the brash Broner is great power in both hands and an impressive amateur pedigree.
Easter has just joined his buddy as champion, too, after surviving a knockdown against Ghana’s Richard Commey, Friday, for the lightweight title, which was vacant.
Easter (18-0, 14 KOs) has caught the eyes of fans and media with his lanky build and fight-stopping power.
He made easy work of former champ Algenis Mendez earlier this year, but stepped into a career-defining fight with a really tough opponent in previously undefeated Commey, whose record now stands at 26-1, 22 KOs).
“(Broner) just told me to go in there and be myself and work on mistakes in previous fights and no one can beat me then,” Easter told USA TODAY Sports, prior to the Commey fight.
The 135-pound title tilt from Reading, Pa., was actually the co-feature to the Danny Jacobs-Sergio Mora rematch, but Easter did put up a show – together with Commey – to “steal the show”.
Though he caught Commey a number of times – just as he also ate Commey’s leather – he couldn’t fulfil his prediction to kayo the Ghanaian:
“It’s just a matter of which punch it is (that knocks Commey out),” Easter had said in a pre-fight brag.
“As long as I catch him — and I know I will — and I know I can make a guy make a mistake in the ring. That’s what I’m capable of: using my thinking skills in the ring to outsmart my opponent. So I know I’ll catch him, depends on which shot is open at the time.
Well, as we all know, now, Easter could not knock out Commey, though he did get the opportunity. Some even say Easter is lucky to have been adjudged the winner.
Some suspect home-turf accounted for the scoring, and the Toledo, Ohio native would have lost to Commey, however close that fight turned out to be. Little wonder Commey’s camp is asking for a rematch they won’t get.
The 5-foot-11 Easter has drawn comparisons to all-time fearsome punchers like Diego Corrales and Tommy Hearns who were also lanky in build. The 25-year-old says he’s studied their fights and used some of the things they excelled for his own game.
After winning a title in a suddenly hot lightweight division that now includes Mikey Garcia, Easter has designs on taking the weight class over during the next year.