Seven years have passed since Mikey Garcia last fought in front of his family and friends in Los Angeles, but that will change Saturday night when he takes on Robert Easter in a lightweight unification fight at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Showtime-televised bout will kickoff at 6 p.m.
At Friday's weigh-in, both fighters made weight. Garcia came in at the lightweight limit of 135 pounds, although it appeared he had to cut a lot of weight, and the 5'11" Easter (21-0, 14 KO's), 27, who is making the fourth defense of his title, tipped the scale at 134.5 pounds.
“I really don’t pay attention to being ‘overlooked’ or what my opponents say leading up to a fight," Easter said. "On July 28, we still have to get in there and throw these hands. Nothing said by him or anyone outside bothers me at all.
Easter is coming off back-to-back controversial victories, a unanimous decision against Denis Shafikov in June 2017, and a split decision over Javier Fortuna in January. Many ringside observers have argued that Easter lost both of those fights, but he still has to face Garcia, who is not overlooking him, despite being the overwhelming favorite.
“There isn’t another fight in front of me right now that gets me excited other than this one against Robert Easter Jr. He’s going to come with everything he has. This is definitely his biggest fight, and I believe we’ll be able to bring the best out of each other.
“Me and Robert Easter Jr. are the only unbeaten champions in the division. So in my eyes, the winner is the best fighter in the division.
Although Easter may not have won in the eyes of many in his last couple of fights, he still poses a stylistic risk to Garcia because of his aggressiveness.
Easter is always looking for opportunities to land hard shots, whether it be a jab to the body or a combination upstairs. In the Luis Cruz fight, Easter came out jabbing to the body and later tried jabbing to the head while trying to set up the left hook, and the straight right hand.
Easter is in an offensive mindset from the opening bell to the end, but he does not feint, he does not set up his punches, nor does he take the time to feel his opponent out. Garcia, on the other hand, is very well schooled, fundamental, and has tremendous ring generalship. With that being said, Easter's greatest strength in this fight could also be his greatest weakness.
Garcia usually starts off the fight by doing the things that Easter does not do, like feinting and changing levels. Moreover, Garcia takes the time to probe and is generally very effective at blocking punches because he is very good at getting opponents out of their rhythm.
Easter steps in with his jab, which makes it very easy to time for a fighter like Garcia. Even when he attempts to set up counters, Easter still steps in and commits to the jab, which will leave him out of position, and a prime target for a counter right hand from Garcia.
We can also expect the 5'6" Garcia to throw more left hooks to the body to slow down his taller, lengthier adversary, but for the most part, the right hand will dictate the fight. Garcia is a master at using feints and head movement to force his opponents to commit to a punch when they are not set up correctly.
Prediction: Garcia stops Easter in the eighth round.