Oh yes, he'll get yoked up too. But alas, there's no way IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr. bunny hops away with a victory against WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia.
He knows dudes like Vasyl Lomachenko, Errol Spence Jr., Terence Crawford, or rising star Regis Prograis will be watching. And he doesn't give a fuck. Mikey Garcia believes he's the best fighter in the world… and he just might be.
1250 miles south of a grimy Toledo, Ohio location, sits West Palm Beach, Florida and the Marine Corps-like gym of drill instructor trainer Kevin Cunningham. With a militant composition and training style designed to eliminate any cosmopolitan nonsense, the 27 year-old Easter Jr (taking cues from a troubled Gervonta Davis reborn), decided to leave his figurative Kansas for Cunningham's tropical hell before facing Garcia's inferno in Los Angeles.
“We had a long camp, nine-plus weeks just staying focused and staying sharp,” reflected a ready Easter Jr. (21-0, 14KOs), notably disappointed in his last few desultory efforts culminating with the last: an unnecessary, tug-of-war split decision over Javier Fortuna at Barclays on the undercard of Errol Spence Jr V Lamont Peterson way back in January.
“Everybody in has been waiting for this fight and this moment for a long time. There have been a lot of distractions during my training camps back at home, therefore I knew I had to go out of town. This fight is different. There were certain things we weren’t working on and focusing on that I knew I had to, but really wasn’t. I was really going into them fights fighting off talent, just fighting off talent. Coach Kev really broke down the science to me.”
—Robert Easter Jr.
Much wiser than the trainer responsible for Cory Spinks and Devon Alexander, Coach Kev is now more or less a duplicitous dispenser of sagacity and discipline. Obvious with Easter has been a colorful basket of thematic, B-level mistakes of the infighting variety as if a short and stocky fighter. Word out of West Palm Beach is that Easter did a masterful job manipulating distance and space by rediscovering the ability to fight tall and shutdown a mid-range attack. If I'm wrong and Easter runny eggs Garcia, my cronies over at NY Fights know I'll be crediting Cunningham in our “Who Won The Weekend” series. At 5'11 with unusual arms that expand beyond that, Easter has no business in the suffocating mid-range office of a Garcia known to shut off electricity there. Both fighters spoke with confidence during a recent international media call, but Mikey expects Easter to be what he's always been: A fighter.
“He likes to exchange punches and gives up the height and reach advantage at times. But he’s always in the fight. He’s always punching. He’s dangerous. He has power.”
With that, Robert Garcia and the gang expect a highly refined and technically proficient Robert Easter Jr on Saturday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles (Live on SHOWTIME @10PM ET/7PM PT). Talk about “line em up and I'll beat em”…. Mikey Garcia goes from a slick/stylish Adrien Broner and a brawling Sergey Lipinets at 140 to the long and multifaceted Easter Jr at 135. We know he's been talking a lot about Errol Spence Jr, but let's keep this real… Mikey Garcia went back to 135 and this particular fight because he wants an ultimate showdown with Top Rank boss Bob Arum and his new Manny Pacquiao in Loma.
A Darker Vasyl Lomachenko V Jorge Linares
If Easter hops into the Staples Center as advertised against Garcia, their styles and physical intangibles could very well produce a solid rendition of Diego Corrales V Jose Luis Castillo. Back in May, world #1 ring savant Loma got off the canvas and chopped down a very long and tall Linares in the 10th round to capture the WBA lightweight belt here in New York City at Madison Square Garden. In a game of dangerous tit-for-tat, Garcia faces the same dimensional bean-stalk his brewing superfight rival had to overcome and dismiss. Essentially, he's facing a small welterweight after rehydration (Easter Jr will probably be around 152lbs on fight night) with nothing to lose because he's expected to.
Easter's best wins came against the aforementioned Fortuna and Richard Commey– two fights he arguably lost. While I expect Easter to be much more polished, the difference in class is too extreme; plus he'll still have a penchant for trench warfare at some point, totally forgetting he's in with an A-fighter determined to egg and scramble him with variety. Easter gets fried up southwestern style in 10, as Mikey Garcia resurrects talks of a looming superfight with “The Matrix”.