Days before the fight, Robert Easter Jr. told the media that he was going to dominate Mikey Garcia.
The former IBF lightweight champion not only did not dominate Garcia, but he also did not come even close to winning.
Garcia, already a four-division world champion, dropped him in the third round with a beautiful counter left hook and beat Easter in a lightweight title unification bout by unanimous decision before a boisterous crowd of 12,560 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The scores were 116-111, 117-110, and 118-109. FightNights.com scored the bout 119-108 for Garcia, who improved his record to 39-0 with 30 knockouts. Easter, who suffered the first loss of his professional career, dropped to 21-1 with 14 knockouts.
In the opening round, as expected, Easter got the action going by aggressively trying to land hard shots, while Garcia probed, feinted, and looked for a place to counter.
Easter was jabbing effectively in the second, but Garcia found a home for the left hook in a close round that could have gone to either fighter.
But there was no doubt who won the third round and the rest of the fight. Garcia fired the jab and as we wrote in our pre-fight analysis, Easter gets out of position when he tries to counter. Garcia took advantage of that mistake with a counter straight right hand, and followed it up with a beautiful left hook that dropped Easter late in the round.
Despite facing an undefeated opponent with a five-inch height advantage, and an eight-inch reach advantage, it was Garcia who closed the distance and forced Easter to fight at his pace.
That was the story for the rest of the fight as Easter went into survival mode and Garcia continued to pour on the pressure, but not in a reckless manner as his corner told their fighter just before the 11th round "The fight is yours. Nothing stupid, don't make it dangerous or get overconfident."
According to CompuBox punch statistics, Garcia landed 176 of 555 punches (32 percent) and Easter connected on 129 of 507 (25 percent).
With the convincing victory, Garcia is in prime position to land a big fight with welterweight world titleholder Errol Spence, who is arguably the best fighter in the 147-pound division.
Garcia has an old school mentality. He really wants to be a great fighter, striving to face the very best in the sport. He has already won world titles at at featherweight, junior lightweight, lightweight, and junior lightweight, joining legends Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez as the only men to win world titles at 126, 130, 135, and 140 pounds. But every fighter has a limit. Pacquiao dominated and tattooed Margarito in a wide unanimous decision win a world title in his eight different weight class, a remarkable feat, but the Filipino superstar, who also serves as a senator in the Philippines, took heavy punishment to the body at points during the fight. Days after, the pain was so excruciating, Pacquiao required the assistance of his aides to help him move around.
Spence, 28, is not a small welterweight by any means. In fact, he probably walks around closer to 180 pounds, similar to former two-division world titleholder Canelo Alvarez. Spence (24-0, 21 KO's), a 2012 Olympian based in Desoto, Texas, has also talked about potentially fighting Alvarez down the line.
But Garcia is coming off his first-ever world title unification, and he wants more. That is what a prizefighter is all about.
"I'm better than ever. I'm in my prime." Garcia said. "I'm here for the biggest challenges. I don't know if there is anyone that is a bigger challenge than Errol Spence. I know he's up to fight everyone so let's make it happen. I think it can be made. I think that's the next big fight coming up."
"I feel I have the power and the skill set to compete in any division up to welterweight. He's the toughest guy at welterweight so I want to face him."
Spence, who was ringside, is not just one of the top fighters in the sport, he is also arguably the best body puncher in boxing today, which was pivotal in his incredible 11th-round knockout of Kell Brook in May 2017, and his first-round KO of mandatory challenger Carlos Ocampo in June was also the result of a wicked body shot.
"It's a big fight. It's the biggest fight I can get right now," Spence said. "It's a huge fight. It's an easy fight to make. Showtime is on board. Our management is onboard. This year, hopefully, November or December."