Purses: Mikey Garcia $1 million, Easter Jr. $500,000
By Jeff Aranow: WBC World lightweight champion Mikey Garcia will be getting a purse of $1 million for his fight this Saturday night against IBF champion Robert Easter Jr. (21-0, 14 KOs). For his part, Easter Jr. is getting a purse of $500,000 for their fight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Garcia should get more than $1 million if he faces IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.
(Photo credit: Scott Hirano/SHOWTIME)
That’s a fight that will attract a lot of interest from boxing fans. It’s obviously not a pay-per-view level fight, but it’ll still attract a lot of interest from fans. The fight likely won’t take place until 2019 if happens. Spence has already said that he wants the fight. There’s no doubt about it. Spence wants the Garcia fight. It’s up to Garcia if he’s serious about wanting to move up two weight classes to face Spence at welterweight, because there’s little chance the fight can take place at a 140. Spence is too big to lose weight.
Heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs) is getting a respectable $200,000 for his 10 round fight against former world title challenger Razvan Cojanu (16-3, 9 KOs) in the co-feature bout.
Super lightweight Mario Barrios (21-0, 13 KOs) is getting $30,000 for his fight against Jose Roman (24-2-1, 16 KOs).
Easter Jr. is considered an underdog in the fight against Garcia, but he has a better than average chance of pulling off the upset. This could be the toughest fight for Garcia since his fight against Orlando Salido in 2013. Garcia won that fight by an eight round technical decision. The fight was stopped after Garcia suffered a broken nose in the 8th. Salido was starting to come at the time that the fight was halted.
Garcia, 30, and Easter Jr. have kept it low key in terms of trash talking in the buildup to the fight. However, at the weigh-in on Friday, there was clear tension at the weigh-in. Easter Jr. looked like he wanted to start fighting right there on the spot. Mikey stared at Easter Jr. without emotion. Easter was clearly agitated as the two exchanged words. Easter Jr. pointed to Mikey’s soft-looking midsection.
Before starting training camp for the fight, Mikey was said to be walking around at 170 pounds, and eating a lot of fast food. Garcia took the weight off obviously, but he didn’t look like he was as trim as he’d been in the past. Some of the fat was still clinging stubbornly to his midsection. Easter Jr. had some things to say to Garcia. It would have been interesting to have heard what Easter Jr. said to him. Garcia looked like he was more interested in letting his fists do the talking on Saturday night. When Garcia and Easter Jr. did turn around to face the audience, it was clear which of the two had the better physique. The 5’11” Easter Jr. looked like a statue in comparison.
There’s surprisingly a lot of interest in the Garcia vs. Easter Jr. lightweight unification fight. That’s kind of rare for the 135 lb. weight class. The lightweight division rarely receives a lot of attention from boxing fans. It wasn’t until recently that the casual fans started showing interest, and that’s because of the Jorge Linares vs. Vasyl Lomachenko fight.
Mikey hasn’t done much since moving up to lightweight in 2016. Garcia has only had one fight at lightweight in beating Dejan Zlaticanin in January 2017. Since making his comeback in Garcia’s other three fights since making his comeback have been in the 140 lb. weight class against Elio Rojas, Adrien Broner and Sergey Lipinets. For some reason, Garcia doesn’t want to give up on the lightweight division yet to start campaigning at light welterweight on a permanent basis. That decision made be made for him on Saturday if he loses to Easter Jr.
It’s not easy for fighters to bounce around different weight classes the way that Garcia has been doing and still find success, but obviously a big part of the success that he’s had is because of careful opponent selection. Mikey hasn’t fought the best lightweights yet like Lomachenko, Easter Jr., Luke Campbell, Yvan Mendy or Linares. When Mikey moved up to light welterweight, he didn’t fight the best fighters in Regis Prograis, Jose Ramirez, Josh Taylor or Kiryl Relikh. Mikey was careful. He chose to fight Adrien Broner and Sergey Lipinets, who are clearly not in the same class as Prograis and Taylor.
“I told Mikey there ain’t no more talking. I’m coming in shape,” Easter said to ESPN. “It’s going to be an exciting fight for all the fans that are here from my side and from his side. We’re just ready to fight and put on a great performance for L.A.”
The winner of the Garcia-Easter Jr. fight will hold two titles at lightweight. The belts will help make a future unification fight against the Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Ray Beltran winner a huge fight with four titles on the line. Lomachenko holds the WBA lightweight title, whereas Beltran holds the WBO title.
Garcia and Easter made weight like pros on Friday. Garcia weighed in at the lightweight limit at 135 pounds, and Easter, 27, came in at 134.5 pounds for their clash on Showtime. This will be a tripleheader this Saturday night at 10:00 p.m. ET.
“This fight is champion versus champion. It’s going to determine who’s the best [at 135 pounds], for real. [Saturday] is going to be the best of the best and you’re going to see the best out of me,” Easter said.
Garcia has won world tiles in four weight classes during his 12-year pro career, and with any luck he’ll win a fifth division world title if he can unseat IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. in 2018 or 2019. Spence says he’s going to be fighting in December in making his next defense, so there’s a chance that the Spence-Garcia fight can take place at this year. It’s up to Garcia. Spence wants the fight as soon as Garcia is ready to face him. There’s nothing holding Spence back from taking the fight with Garcia. Spence says he’ll be at the Staples Center this Saturday to watch the Garcia vs. Easter fight. You can bet that Showtime will be giving Spence a lot of attention in the crowd, and will likely interview him before or during the fight to get his two cents on the potential fight against Garcia.
There are some question marks about Garcia going into the Easter fight. One of the biggest question marks is whether Garcia can handle the height and reach of the lanky 5’11” Easter Jr. This will be the first for Garcia, 5’6”, to take on a fighter with the size of Easter. It could be a real problem for Garcia to deal with the size of the Ohio native. The other question is how well Garcia will be able to perform in dropping down from light welterweight to lightweight after being out of the division for 1 ½ years since his win over Zlaticanin. It’s not easy for fighters to come back to their old weight classes.
Heavyweight Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs) will be looking to bounce back from his KO loss to Deontay Wilder when he faces Razvan Cojanu in a 10 round fight in the co-feature. The 39-year-old Ortiz will be looking to steal the thunder from the Garcia-Easter fight by knocking out the 31-year-old Cojanu.
Ortiz looked in good shape on Friday in weighing 241 pounds. He says he threw away the clock for his training, and he’s worked harder than ever in improving his conditioning for the Cojanu fight. Ortiz faded against Wilder in the 7th round after coming close to knocking out the ‘Bronze Bomber.’ Ortiz needs to show improvement in the stamina department if he’s to have any chance of beating Wilder or Anthony Joshua in the future. It’s doubtful that Ortiz will ever get a shot against Joshua because his promoter Eddie Hearn has never shown much interest in letting him take the fight against AJ. That likely won’t change until Ortiz starts showing signs of being totally shot.