Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) defended his WBC lightweight title and took away the IBF belt from Robert Easter Jr (21-1, 14 KOs) with a wide unanimous decision win, which included a third-round knockdown. More than 12,500 fans were on hand at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, as Garcia started slowly, but completely dominated the second-half of this fight, and once again showcased why he’s one of the most skilled boxers on the planet.
Easter looked to make the most of his reach advantage by throwing plenty of jabs, trying to keep Garcia at range. He had success “fighting tall” over the first two rounds, but Garcia upped his aggression in round 3, and a right-left combination put Easter on the canvas. Easter got up quickly, but Garcia hurt him again as the round drew to a close. Garcia’s picture-perfect combination work and mixing his targets flustered Easter further in the 4th round, as it looked like the Mexican-American was steadily gaining control of the contest.
In rounds 5 and 6, Easter went back to the basics and kept a steady jab in Garcia’s face and body. Garcia attacked when he had Easter on the ropes, or closed the distance to fire off a bevy of power punches. Round 7 saw Garcia really catch Easter clean with multiple hard right hands, and his own jab proved to pose problems for the Ohio native. After a pretty inactive round 8 from Easter, his corner urged him to throw more, and while he had success in round 9, Garcia also outlanded him substantially, using the jab to set up the right hand, going to the head and body with ferocious hooks. When Garcia forced Easter back, he was the aggressor and scoring with the more effective punches, while Easter was largely in a shell. The beating continued through the championship rounds, as it was clear that Easter was in survival mode and didn’t want to get knocked out.
Official result: Mikey Garcia def. Robert Easter by unanimous decision (116-111, 117-110, 118-109)
Garcia called out IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr (24-0, 21 KOs) as the opponent he wants next, and Spence has mutual interest in making the fight happen. Mikey would be at a huge physical disadvantage, but it would be a big matchup between two rising stars.
There’s also the matter of whether or not Garcia, technically a promotional free agent, will sign with Dana White’s Zuffa Boxing or Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom USA. Talks between Garcia and those two parties will resume this week.