A lightweight unification fight between Mikey Garcia and Robert Easter was in the works in November, but Garcia opted to face Sergey Lipinets for a shot at a world title in his fourth weight class on Feb. 10.
Last week, Garcia (37-0, 30 KO's), 30, of Moreno Valley, California, the WBC 135-pound champion, insisted the money was not good enough to make the fight and even implied Easter concurred with his judgment. However, that didn't appear to be the case during a media conference call Thursday.
"That's just a lame excuse not to fight," Easter responded to a question asked by RingTV. "I don't produce enough fans? What does Lipinets -- no disrespect to him -- but come on now. Everybody knows that is not true. I have fans all over. My fan base is big.
"Like I said, man, it don't matter if we fought in a room with nobody. It shouldn't even matter. If the money's good and the contract's good, then we should fight. It wouldn't care about fighting in front of nobody because I know what I'm gonna do."
Lipinets (13-0, 10 KO's), 28, a Kazakhstan native based in Beverly Hills, defeated Akihiro Kondo by unanimous decision to win a vacant super lightweight world title in November. It was a fun fight but was not worthy of world championship status according to many ringside observers.
Easter (20-0, 14 KO's), 26, of Toledo, Ohio, the IBF 135-pound titlist, has a point. He poses serious problems for Garcia. Standing at 5'11", Easter is five inches taller than Garcia (5'6"), and has an eight-inch advantage in reach (76 to 68").
Garcia said that he took the Lipinets fight because it was the more lucrative option for him. If that's true, it makes more business sense to take the sure win, rather than face Easter in a high risk, low reward bout.
Garcia-Easter will eventually take place, and when it does, look out. It's going to be a threat for Fight of the Year.