This Saturday night Mikey Garcia and Robert Easter Jr. put there perfect records on the line in a lightweight unification bout live on Showtime from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Although Garcia is a clear favorite, Easter’s size and reach could make things interesting if Robert actually applies a more conservative approach.
Every since Mikey Garcia returned to boxing two summers ago his passion and profile have both increased. The contractual disagreement between Mikey and his former employer Top Rank, forced Garcia to sit on the sidelines for over two years, smack-dab in the middle of his prime. Garcia stood his ground during the lawsuit which ultimately paid off tenfold, getting the release he coveted.
Now as a free agent, Garcia works on a fight by fight basis with power advisor Al Haymon and Showtime Head Stephen Espinoza. Several offers from top tier promoters have poured in but as of now Mikey stays the course as a free man.
Almost a year ago to the day, Garcia dismantled Adrien Broner, followed it up in March by cleanly beating Sergey Lipinets, although Lipinets had success in spots. Now with Robert Easter Jr. in his sights the focus seems to be more on a potential fight against Errol Spence later in the year. Obviously if Mikey isn’t 100 percent focused on the task at hand, he can kiss ‘The Truth’ goodbye
On April fool’s day in 2016, Robert Easter Jr. scored an impressive knockout over hardened vet Argenis Mendez on the undercard of a Broner event on Spike TV (Now the Paramount Network). Later that same year, Richard Commey gave Easter Jr. all he could hand and more. After a tune-up, Easter was thrown back into a firefight against Dennis Shafikov last summer. In January Robert went life and death, in what many deemed as a stay busy fight with Javier Fortuna.
Here we are again for Mikey, standing before an opponent most assume is nowhere near on the same level. Can Easter Jr. reinvent himself in only one camp with Kevin Cunningham? Can he rise to the occasion the way Sergey Lipinets did, to an extent anyway? We saw a difference in Gervonta Davis with only one Cunningham camp maybe it will work wonders for ‘E-Bunny’.
The main reason why the majority of boxing fans & media think so less of this matchup is Easter’s tendency to be over aggressive. It’s strange in a way, how certain fighters get praised for a carefree style while others get chastised. Most probably just assume Easter’s amateur pedigree tells us he can box on the outside. To be fair we haven’t seen a fight in recent years when Easter stuck to a conservative game plan as a pro.
This hack-of-a-scribe is drinking the kool-aid right from the picture it was made in. Meaning Easter Jr. will make a valiant effort to fight in a more sensible style for at least 3-4 rounds depending on success. Making Garcia a come forward fighter is basically the only path to victory, of course we can’t rule out a one-punch knockout or Easter Jr. hurting Mikey badly.
If Robert can pump the jab constantly and mix it with movement he could fluster Garcia. It’s not that Garcia can’t be the aggressor, it’s just his strengths clearly lie in the middle of the ring. Inch by inch, Garcia creeps forward but only after he has timed and hurt an opponent. If this fight features the majority of action taking place in the middle of the ring, let’s just say it will be a long night for ‘E-Bunny”.
After say 4ish rounds of sticking to a smarter approach, assuming it’s not effective, Easter will resort to what got him here, an all-out swarming style, which could work enough to fluster Garcia with inside craftiness. The problem is Easter likes to be at close range but doesn’t lean on an opponent or toe the line of foul play. The up close and personal Easter still tends to throw wide punches and can be beat to the punch repeatedly. That’s when this fight will become one-sided, whenever Mikey is able to time Robert thus beating him to the punch.
The outcome will be decided by how Easter Jr. responds to getting timed. If he chooses to clinch and looks for a stalemate, he’ll hear the final bell in the 12th. If the Ohio native throws caution to the wind he will need to be scrapped of the canvas. However it ends up look for this fight to be an entertaining blend of skill, strategy, and power.
My Official Prediction is Mikey Garcia by Late Technical Stoppage.
Side Note: Before the Showtime Main Event keep your eyes peeled for a must-win heavyweight battle between Dillian Whyte and Joseph Parker. Unfortunately a US network hasn’t picked the fight up but I’m sure a live stream will be available.
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ ropeadoperadio Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio