The seeming confidence level of Ohioan Robert Easter, the IBF 135 pound champ, ahead of his Saturday night showdown in Cali against Mikey Garcia has me intrigued.
Yep, a little extra, above and beyond the knowing that you need to tune in to every Mikey fight, being that he’s one of the ten or five best pugilists active now.
This Easter, he hasn’t looked all-world of late, and thus, when this fight was made, I heard and saw plenty of folks saying this one will be “easy work” for Garcia, whose in ring proficiency and calm makes him a rock-solid pugilist in any era.
Me, I didn’t think Mikey would have an inordinately difficult time with Easter, someone who arguably hasn’t always used his physical gifts to their fullest effect.
But maybe you’ve been hearing Easter talk a damn good game ahead of the clash, which will unfold on Showtime, from Staples Center.
“This fight with Mikey Garcia is one of the big fights that I've been waiting on for so long and it's finally here,” said Easter on a recent media call. “July 28th and we'll see one of the best you've ever seen. I'm going to bring in plenty of skills thanks to my coach Robert Easter, Sr. and coach Kevin Cunningham. We've made adjustments and changes in my game and everything is coming out perfect. July 28th you will see me with two belts.”
Notice he’s not saying how he will do the best he can, and he expects to push Mikey and may the best man win?
He’s saying he WILL WIN.
And why now will we see a different animal and him wrecking Mikey’s home-coming scrap? “I believe I fought that fight wrong and made it tougher on myself,” Easter said of his last tango, against Javier Fortuna (in January). “Instead of using my reach and my ability to box, I sort of smothered my punches. But when I fight I move on from it, we learned from it as well as every fight.”
One element of Easters’ confidence comes with having his eyes opened by ex cop Kevin Cunningham, who has hammered home that he has to use the gifts God gave him. Those long arms, that length, that height…use them! Cunningham wants him to use “his natural gifts in terms of the height and reach and control and range and distance. Like Robert explained, he knows the mistakes that he was making in the fight (vs Fortuna). He was not using his range properly, not controlling distance and then smothering his punches by fighting in a little too close and giving up his height and things of that nature.”
“I pretty much can’t predict if it’s a knockout or a decision, but I can tell you I’m going to come out victorious,” Easter has said.
Cunningham on the latest edition of “Talkbox” …
..was asked why Easter seems so confident.
“He doesn’t think he’s gonna win, he KNOWS he’s gonna win,” Cunningham told me (listen to the whole chat here). “He’s done everything to prepare himself to win.”
A ten week camp, and working on some deficiencies and bad habits, has Cunningham sounding also confident.
“As long as he stays focused and executes the game plan, I think he’ll be victorious on Saturday night,” he said. OK, the ex cop leaves some room for fate not shining on Easter. He says “I think” he’ll win, not he damn well will. Cunningham knows, I think, that Easter needs to be the very best version of himself and also have luck on his side at Staples.
But I will say this, I like very much how Easter has been sounding heading into the match. He’s still a pretty heavy underdog in my personal sports book, but my anticipation level for the faceoff has upticked a notch. What say you, readers? Anyone calling for an Easter upset win?