Lightweight world titleholders Mikey Garcia and Robert Easter square off in a highly anticipated unification bout on Saturday night featuring two of the best 135-pound fighters in the world. Garcia vs. Easter will be broadcast live by Showtime from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on July 28 starting at 10 p.m. ET.
Both fighters are undefeated, and Garcia’s WBC lightweight title as well Easter’s IBF version will be on the line in the fight.
Garcia (38-0, 30 KOs) is considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. He’s won world title belts in four different weight classes and is currently both the WBC lightweight titleholder as well as the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (TBRB) junior welterweight champion.
Additionally, Garcia is ranked No. 5 on Ring Magazine’s pound-for-pound list and No. 7 per the TBRB. Former heavyweight champion George Foreman recently told NYFights.com’s Michael Woods he considers Garcia the best fighter in all of boxing.
Garcia nabbed the WBC lightweight belt by knocking out Dejan Zlatičanin in January 2017. He then fought twice in the junior welterweight division, defeating both Adrien Broner and Sergey Lipinets before deciding to move back down to face Easter.
Easter (21-0, 14 KOs) captured the vacant IBF belt from Richard Commey in September 2016. He's defended his title three times, winning each fight over Luis Cruz, Denis Shafikov and Javier Fortuna via unanimous decision.
While Easter is undefeated, he’s not fought the same level of competition as Garcia, and isn’t considered by most boxing experts to be elite. He’s a hard-fighting, rangey puncher with fast hands and borderline electric athleticism. While he’s not accomplished enough in his career to be on pound-for-pound lists, a win over Garcia would likely vault the 27-year-old into heavy consideration there.
That Garcia is such a heavy favorite in the fight is less about the quality of Easter and more about what people see in Garcia. To put it simple, he’s the complete package. He’s smart, strong, fast and highly skilled. His offense is mechanically precise and he’s adept at moving from throwing punches to playing defense and back again in a way few fighters have ever achieved.
Easter will enjoy a five-inch height and eight-inch reach advantage on fight night, but it shouldn’t really matter.
The fighter tends to abandon boxing from a distance for more close and crude methods once he gets hit a few times, so his apparent physical advantages are unlikely to play a big a factor in the outcome of the fight.
For boxing betting fans, the most likely outcome of the fight is Garcia via late stoppage or decision. While the first few rounds might be in reach for Easter because of his physical tools and perhaps Garcia’s proclivity to starting slowly in fights, once Garcia begins to walk him down it’s just a matter of time before Garcia grabs the win.
After browsing the top bookmakers, if you’re looking to back an underdog for a big money play, look somewhere else. Garcia is just too much for Easter.
Ladbrokes is one of the more generous places to bet the outright win for Garcia at -900 and Easter at +550. While Easter is solid at lightweight, he’s not showed anything as a fighter in the past to suggest he’ll do anything but go rounds with Garcia.
He’s good enough to get through at least six and is likely to see at least one of the championship rounds. With odds like this, it’s less about determining who will win and more about picking how he will do it. History suggests Garcia will stop Easter.
Since 2010, Garcia has knocked out 12 of the last 15 opponents he’s faced at or below the 135-pound lightweight limit. Garcia couldn’t stop Pedro Navarrete in an eight-round fight in 2012. In 2013, he knocked Orlando Salido down four times in eight rounds before winning a technical decision because of accidental headbutt.
In 2014, he went the distance in a 12-round bout with Juan Carlos Burgos. Other than those three fights--all of which were four or more years ago-- Garcia has stopped every other qualifying fighter.
Bet365 offers round group odds for the fight, the best of which is Garcia in rounds 10-12 at +850. If you think Garcia will stop Easter before that, have a look at rounds 7-9 at +500. If the 5-way winner and method market is more your style, consider taking Garcia by KO, TKO or DQ at +110. That’s easily the most likely thing to happen in the fight.