Los Angeles, CA — History took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on July 28, as undefeated WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia was crowned the undisputed lightweight champion of the world when he beat IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr.
Both competitors were going into this fight undefeated. Easter Jr. had a record of 21-0 with 14 knockouts, while Garcia had a 38-0 (30 knockouts). Unfortunately for Easter Jr., he now has to add a one to the other end of the hyphen.
Even though Garcia (39-0) came out victorious, Easter Jr. (21-1) did not go down without a fight. The IBF lightweight champion came in as the underdog and everyone treated him as so. The crowd chanted, “Mikey, Mikey, Mikey” the entire 12 rounds, making clear whose side they were on.
This unification match consisted of 12 three-minute rounds, unlike the two under-card matches, which had 10 rounds of boxing. In each round Garcia and Easter Jr. gave it their all, both honing down on their skills and advantages to try and score points from the judges.
The 5’11″ Easter Jr. used his long reach, quickness, and height to try and knock Garcia off his feet. He made sure to get in as many jabs as possible in the first couple rounds, in case he didn’t have time to later on in the match. Easter Jr., known as the “E Bunny”, mimicked the Energizer Bunny, but quickly ran out of battery within the third round.
Staying calm and collected, Garcia saw his opportunity to land in a punch while Easter’s guard was down. Garcia brought out the right hook and aimed it right at Easter’s face, resulting in Easter stumbling and falling to the ground. Fans thought this meant the end of the match, but Easter got right back up just in time for the bell to ring for the fourth round.
Garcia showed no sign of weakness in the next few rounds. He maintained composure and stayed focus on the task at hand. On the other hand, Easter Jr. did everything he could to withstand the onslaught, whether that be hanging onto his opponent or dodging him in order to get a breathe in. By the seventh round, it was clear who the winner was going to be, but that didn’t stop either of the boxers from giving it their all.
The 11th round sparked a fire within both Garcia and Easter Jr. Garcia landed 42% of his punches, which was his highest percentage of the entire fight. Easter Jr. also received his highest score during round 11, landing 38% of his jabs. If only Easter Jr. kept up that momentum the entire match, the outcome might have been different.
After 12 rounds of exhausting yet rewarding boxing, the final result came down to the judges, and with a unanimous decision, Mikey Garcia was titled the undisputed lightweight champion. The scores were 116-111, 117-110, and 119-109, all three in favor of Garcia.
“Thank you, everybody, who has always supported me. I told y’all I was coming for bigger things, and now we’re one step closer to achieving that,” stated Garcia after the win. “I prepared for the best Robert Easter, he came in, and gave a great fight… I’m better than ever, I’m in my prime. I’m here for the greatest challenges.”
Garcia plans to challenge world welterweight titleholder Errol Spence Jr. to a match-up.
“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,” declared Garcia.
As for Easter Jr., he is still known as a champion in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio. He thanked his fans who flew in from Ohio, as well as his LA fans and continued to hold his head high.
“Whenever we step into the ring, we both put our lives on the line, and tonight, Mikey was victorious,” commented Easter Jr. “Whenever we win or lose, we go back to the scoring board and we work hard.”