Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

Garcia overpowers Easter to unify lightweight titles

Mikey Garcia Eggs Robert Easter Jr. The hurdle Mikey Garcia must clear to be an all-time great
Cassandra Castillo | 30 July, 2018, 06:11

But moments after Garcia added the IBF title to his WBC belt at 135 pounds, the four-division champion reiterated his dare-to-be-great intentions of moving up two weight divisions to make his debut at welterweight.

Mikey Garcia, left, exchanges punches with Robert Easter Jr. during the WBC and IBF lightweight title bout in Los Angeles, Saturday, July 28, 2018.

The 27-year-old Easter suffered the first loss of his career to drop to 21-1, with 14 KOs.

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.

"He's focused and he's hungry", Spence said of Easter.

By round three, Garcia was a little more aggressive and began following up the retreats of Easter.

In another stunning performance, expect Mikey Garcia to dominate a still green Robert Easter and unify their titles come Saturday night. Garcia said. "I'm here for the biggest challenges".

If Easter hops into the Staples Center as advertised against Garcia, their styles and physical intangibles could very well produce a solid rendition of Diego Corrales V Jose Luis Castillo. In a game of unsafe tit-for-tat, Garcia faces the same dimensional bean-stalk his brewing superfight rival had to overcome and dismiss. He pressed Easter until he landed a right cross left hook combination that sent Easter down. Since scoring is based on clean, landed punches (not punches thrown), I had Garcia clearly ahead as the rounds progressed. His reflexes were perhaps too slow, he wasn't in the right position, and his feet aren't as educated as Garcia's. Easter closed the second with some sharp jabs to the head. Round after round, Easter kept it competitive but was never able to find his footing. He connected on almost 40 percent of his power shots while Easter landed at a 24 percent clip.

That would be fine and nice if Easter actually fought that way. But it was Garcia who finished the round stronger. The 116 scorecard by Edward Hernandez was a particularly odd one as I can't imagine which four rounds Easter won. After six rounds in the featherweight bout, he won the unanimous decision with all three judges' scoring the fight 60-54.

"He was just a better man tonight. We'll go back to the drawing board-whether we win, lose, or draw, we go back to the drawing board". I knew he was a tough opponent. I feel I'm the stronger, better fighter - period. "I believe with our skills and record, the victor of this fight is the best fighter in the weight class", Easter said on Friday, as quoted by Bad Left Hook.

"I like to stay patient early on and figure out my opponent". He's the biggest name I can get right now.

It looked a lot like Errol Spence Jr. "I'm here for the biggest challenges". I'm prepared to take the challenge with Spence. He knows the kind of fighter I am. "He gave a great fight but I was in control most of the fight and did what I had to do to win".

"I feel I have the power and skillset to compete in any division up to welterweight".

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During an interview at the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING host desk, Spence, a fellow top-five pound-for-pound great, said he would “definitely” welcome a fight with Garcia. Garcia, if he does move up to face Spence, will actually be doing it.

“Im just a different type of athlete, ” Porter told SHOWTIMEs Brian Custer. "I want Erroll Spence!"

Garcia got better as the fight progressed. It won't be an easy fight. "He will be pound-for-pound No. 1 if he beat me but it's not going to happen". It's like a dream matchup, like nearly too good to be true. I dont really see anything that concerns me. "I was in control of the fight and I did what I had to do to win".

In round two, Cuba's Ortiz (29-1, 25 KO) administered a quick jab and straight left to the chin of Romania's Razvan Cojanu (16-3-, 9-1 KO), sending him to the floor.

Cojanu towered over Ortiz with a huge height advantage.

Garcia continued to assert himself in the fourth round, forcing Easter back and working him over with an assortment of combinations.

At Friday's weigh-in, both fighters made weight. Jabs were fired like pistons but most of the taller fighter's flashy blows touched only air or the gloves. 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. Cojanu wobbled and struggled to stand up but not before referee Jerry Cantu called the fight at 2:08.

After the fight, Showtime's Jim Gray spoke with Luis Ortiz. Just five days prior to his flight, as he was boarding the plane, he got news from his wife that they found a cure for his daughter's disease. While Junior Welterweight may be his ceiling, he is at his most risky at Lightweight.

The boxers started somewhat tentatively but with carefully placed shots. Roman kept it competitive, landing the occasional shot and utilizing good handspeed and his veteran experience to keep Barrios at bay.

Roman (24-3-1, 16 KOs), down in the fourth and on his knees in the eighth, was out of options, energy and chances after eight rounds.

Barrios continued to chase Roman down in the fifth round while Roman tried to circle away. "We're going to take the fight".

"I can try to use speed, angles, footwork", he said. Roman survived the round, but his corner refused to answer the bell and the fight was over. This was the farthest Ive gone in a while. "It was a ideal punch on the chin".

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