By Keith Idec
Mikey Garcia reiterated early Sunday morning that Jorge Linares remains the lightweight champion he wants to fight most.
Linares, however, could be headed toward a defense of his WBC title against Vasyl Lomachenko on May 12 at Madison Square Garden. If Lomachenko-Linares materializes and Garcia indeed moves back down to the 135-pound division for his next fight, Robert Easter Jr. gladly will accept that challenge.
“We’re looking forward to fighting Mikey Garcia [next],” Easter, the IBF lightweight champ, said during Showtime’s telecast Saturday night from San Antonio. “That’s a fight I’ve been looking for for a long time. That one fighter [at 135 for Garcia] should be me, though. I’ve been looking forward to the opportunity to fight and we both have belts. It’s time to unify.”
The 30-year-old Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) became a world champion in a fourth weight class Saturday night by beating Sergey Lipinets. Garcia dropped Lipinets (13-1, 10 KOs) during the seventh round and won a 12-round unanimous decision to take the IBF junior welterweight championship from him at Freeman Coliseum.
Easter (21-0, 14 KOs), of Toledo, Ohio, most recently edged the Dominican Republic’s Javier Fortuna (33-2-1, 23 KOs, 1 NC) by split decision January 20 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Garcia, of Oxnard, California, said before beating Lipinets that he would fight Easter if he couldn’t make a fight against Linares. Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez was negotiating with Garcia to face Venezuela’s Linares (44-3, 27 KOs) before Garcia took the Lipinets fight.
“I think in the immediate future I wanna come down to 135 and unify the titles there,” Garcia said during the post-fight press conference in San Antonio. “One last time at 135. … I think the fight that interests me the most at lightweight right now is Linares. And he has shown interest in recent times, so I wish we can get that fight.”
If Garcia goes in a different direction than Easter for whatever reason, Easter likely will have to fight Richard Commey again later this year.
Ghana’s Commey (26-2, 23 KOs) knocked out Mexico’s Alejandro Luna (22-1, 15 KOs) in the sixth round of an IBF lightweight elimination match on the Garcia-Lipinets undercard. Easter defeated Commey by split decision in an entertaining 12-round fight to win the then-vacant IBF 135-pound championship 18 months ago in Reading, Pennsylvania.
“Like I said, we’re looking forward to the Mikey Garcia fight,” Easter said. “And if that opportunity don’t come, then yeah, we could fight Richard Commey again. You know, I never duck and dodge nobody.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.