Both Mikey Garcia and Robert Easter come into their weekend showdown with something to prove and chips on their relative shoulders. Garcia speaks and acts like a fighter who holds some kind of personal belief that he has underachieved in his career thus far and Easter is a young champion looking for respect and validation as he faces off against his most seasoned foe.
Before Garcia can presumably go on the run that will define his career, or Easter can silence the doubters of his legitimacy, the two undefeated champions are going in for a high stakes clash where an 0 must go, and a the path of a career will be forever changed.
It is up for debate that Garcia has never looked better since returning from his self-imposed exile. Since returning, Garcia made a frightening statement when he slumped Dejan Zlaticanin to capture the WBC Lightweight title and reaffirmed his status as one of the best boxers on the planet when he moved up to 140 and captured a title there as well. While Junior Welterweight may be his ceiling, he is at his most dangerous at Lightweight.
The fight against Easter, an undefeated champion, is actually a step back in terms of the level of competition he has faced as of yet. What Easter can give to Garcia isn’t anything he hasn’t seen before, and Garcia’s technical prowess and power will suit him well if Easter opts to box or fight.
What Easter doesn’t have in professional clout, he makes up in the physical advantages he’ll carry with him into the right. Easter stands a full five inches taller than Garcia and boasts a reach advantage of eight inches. Easter has good power in both hands as well as a good chin to handle Garcia’s heavy shots, meaning that Garcia would have to bypass that reach and take punishment of his own to get to work.
That would be fine and nice if Easter actually fought that way. Truth be told, Easter’s performances have been uneven and his porous defense and inability to use that height and reach advantage means that Garcia is going to have no trouble getting to him. Easter was lucky to be bailed out by the judges against Javier Fortuna and has been hit often enough by fighters well below Garcia’s level that suggests that he may not have the understanding of how to properly use his advantages.
Garcia is going to get to Easter and would be best suited to test his resolve early. Easter doesn’t seem comfortable when crowded or having to fight on his back foot, and Garcia’s heavy hands and footwork should be enough to keep him in that uncomfortable position all night. If Easter’s chin can hold up, he’ll make the distance and can take that moral victory with him, but there is little to suggest that Mikey Garcia is going to lose on Saturday.
In another stunning performance, expect Mikey Garcia to dominate a still green Robert Easter and unify their titles come Saturday night.