Easter Parade or Easter Island?

By Robert Ecksel on July 20, 2018
Easter Parade or Easter Island?
Robert Easter Jr. and Mikey Garcia are both undefeated, but that won’t last for long.

Robert Easter has talent, but he also has detractors, some of whom think he’s received more gifts than he actually deserves…

On Saturday, July 28, in a fight televised live on Showtime Championship Boxing from the Staples Center in LA, WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (38-0, 30 KOs), the undefeated four-division titlist from Ventura, California, gets it on with IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr. (21-0, 15 KOs) the young gun from Toledo, Ohio.

Easter won the vacant IBF title with a razor-thin split decision victory over Richard Commey in 2006. He has gone 3-0 since then but has sometimes looked less like a champ than a contender. To turn around that perception, Easter made some changes. He has abandoned his hometown, with all its familiar distractions, for the time being, and hightailed it to Florida, where the trainer Kevin Cunningham, who has worked with Gervonta Davis and Adrien Broner, is helping him to make the most of his physical attributes.

“I decided to go to Florida for a different environment than I usually trained in,” Easter said. “I needed to be taken out of my comfort zone. At home, I was focused on too many other things. Coming to West Palm Beach has allowed me to focus on nothing but myself and boxing.

“I was with Adrien Broner and Gervonta Davis every step of the way during training camp with Kevin Cunningham earlier this year. I saw for myself that it was something I needed to do. I talked with my dad about getting away from the distractions and we agreed this was the right move.”

Easter has talent, but he also has detractors, some of whom think he’s received more gifts than he actually deserves.

“People are paying attention to my last couple of fights,” he said, “when I wasn’t using my height and reach. I can improve on that by taking it back to what I had been doing before. I was knocking people out fight after fight.

“If you’re looking at just my last two fights, you aren’t giving me credit for everything I bring to the table. I faced two tough southpaws recently but on July 28 I’m going to show everyone what they’ve been sleeping on and why I’m a world champion.”

Easter’s reign depends on beating a present-day great. Both men are undefeated, but that is about to end.

“I’ve always wanted to fight the best in my weight class and now I have my chance to unify. I know that Mikey is going to fight his fight and look to counter. He wants to wait for you to make a mistake so he can take advantage.

“What I have to do is go in there and impose my attributes on him. My height and reach are my advantages, but also my speed and power. I just have to combine all that and focus on my footwork.”

Easter is not only the underdog. He is also fighting in Mikey’s backyard.

“It doesn’t matter to me where we fight,” he said. “None of the fans can help him fight. It’s only about me and him in that ring together.”

The Showtime tripleheader also features the return of Luis Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs), the heavyweight with the heavy hands, against former title challenger Razvan Cojanu (16-3, 9 KOs), and unbeaten super lightweight contender Mario Barrios (21-0, 16 KOs) getting it on with hard-hitting Jose Roman (24-2-1, 16 KOs).

The action gets underway at 10:00 PM ET/7:00 PM PT.

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  1. ceylon mooney 09:39am, 07/22/2018

    he hasnt improved since his commey win, which, to be fair, was close but also a clear win for easter.  but his arrival on the world stage has shown us no improvement. hes easy work for garcia. also, to be fair, shafikov and fortuna are damn good, and commey is too. thats a tight group of contenders at 135 there fighting each other. garcia is a pretty big step up, so i give easter a LOT of credit for takin real fights one after the other.

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