By Keith Idec
The last time Mikey Garcia fought, Robert Easter Jr. picked against him.
Easter believed Adrien Broner would beat Garcia, though that choice was personal for Easter, too, because Broner is like a brother to him. Garcia beat Broner impressively in their 12-round, 140-pound fight July 29 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and considered facing Easter next.
The undefeated WBC lightweight champion ultimately decided to remain at 140 pounds for at least one more challenge, a shot at IBF junior welterweight champ Sergey Lipinets on March 10.
Easter has picked Garcia to win this time. The unbeaten IBF lightweight champion, who’ll defend his title Saturday night against Javier Fortuna, thinks Garcia will out-box Lipinets and win a world title in a fourth weight class when they square off at The Alamodome in San Antonio.
Showtime will televise the Easter-Fortuna fight from Barclays Center, as well as the Lipinets-Garcia bout.
“I don’t dislike Mikey Garcia,” Easter told BoxingScene.com. “He’s just a fighter I wanna fight. I actually think he’s gonna do good in that fight. Hopefully he does what he’s supposed to do. He’s a champion and every fight you see he brings it and wins. That’s what champions do. Mikey, he’s a great, sound fighter. He sticks to the game plan. Him and his coach, Robert Garcia, they’re excellent together and you see why he’s a champion.”
Kazakhstan’s Lipinets is undefeated (13-0, 10 KOs), but the former kickboxing champion has much less boxing experience than Southern California’s Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs). He’ll make his first defense of the IBF 140-pound championship, which was vacant when he won it by beating Japan’s Akihiro Kondo (29-7-1, 16 KOs) by unanimous decision in their 12-round fight November 4 at Barclays Center.
“I do expect Mikey to win, but Lipinets, he’s coming to fight as well,” Easter said. “He’s a champ. He holds the IBF title. He’s coming to fight. He’s not coming to lay down. He’s training just as hard to everybody else to keep his title and to gain another one.”
Easter (20-0, 14 KOs) hopes Garcia returns to the lightweight division to fight him later this year. First, however, he’ll have to get past the Dominican Republic’s Fortuna (33-1-1, 23 KOs) in the opener of a “Showtime Championship Boxing” doubleheader that’ll feature IBF welterweight champ Errol Spence Jr. (22-0, 19 KOs) and Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs) in the main event (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.