Mikey Garcia became the 10th lightweight champion to unify the division with a unanimous decision against Robert Easter Jr. Saturday on SHOWTIME, and immediately afterward set his sights on boxing’s best, namely Errol Spence Jr.
All three judges scored the fight in favor of Garcia,118-109, 117-110, 116-111, in an electrifying fight in front of 12,560 fans at Staples Center in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The four-division world champion Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) – who was fighting in his native Southern California for the first time in seven years – keeps his 135-pound WBC title, and also claims Easter’s IBF Lightweight belt
“I’m here for the biggest challenges,” said Garcia, 30, who unified a title for the first time in his career. “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 skillset to compete in any division up to welterweight. He’s the toughest guy at welterweight so I want to face him.”
Garcia scored a knockdown in the third round against Easter (21-1, 14 KOs) of Toledo, Ohio, who was sent to the canvas for just the second time in his career. A strong right jab put Easter out of position, immediately followed by a devastating left hook sent Easter down with 24 seconds remaining in the round.
Garcia got better as the fight progressed. In the final four rounds Garcia out-landed Easter 95-34 in total punches and ended the fight being the more active fighter throwing 555 punches to Easter’s 507. He connected on nearly 40 percent of his power shots while Easter landed at a 24 percent clip.
“It’s a great accomplishment being here in L.A.,” Garcia said. “I was in control most of the fight, and I did what I had to do. I knew he was a tough opponent. He’s a tough warrior. He gave a great fight but I was a better fighter. I was in control of the fight and I did what I had to do to win.”
Easter, who went into the Garcia locker room after the fight to congratulate his opponent, was gracious in defeat.
“Whenever we step in the ring we are both putting our lives on the line and tonight Mikey was victorious,” said Easter, who entered the fight as the longest reigning champion at 135 pounds.
“I just couldn’t find the timing and I just couldn’t let my right hand go. He caught me with a clean shot and I went down, but I got up like a true champion.”
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.
“I feel like that’s the best fight available for me right now with Shawn [Porter] and Danny [Garcia] fighting in September. Keith Thurman is still recovering and needs a tune up.
“He’s daring to be great, he wants to be great, he wants to move up and dethrone me and it’s not going to happen. It’s definitely going to be an easy fight. [Garcia] will be pound-for-pound No. 1 if he beats me.
“He has great skills but I see myself winning. I don’t really see anything that concerns me. He’s technically good, but I don’t see him hurting me at 147.”
Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING tripleheader will replay on Monday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME.