By Keith Idec
LOS ANGELES – Adrien Broner was supposed to attend the final press conference Thursday for the Mikey Garcia-Robert Easter Jr. fight.
Easter wasn’t the least bit surprised Broner missed his flight and the press conference.
“He’s always missing his flight,” a laughing Easter told BoxingScene.com following the press conference. “What’s new?”
Broner will sit ringside Saturday night, though, to support his friend in the biggest fight of Easter’s career. Easter wants to reward Broner for all his encouragement over the years by upsetting Garcia in their 12-round lightweight title unification fight at Staples Center.
Saturday is Broner’s 29th birthday and Easter can’t think of a better gift than defeating the fighter who beat Broner by unanimous decision last July 29 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“July 28th is Adrien Broner’s birthday,” Easter said, “so I’m gonna give him a birthday gift that night.”
Broner hasn’t given Easter specific tips about beating Garcia. The four-division champion has simply stressed to the taller, rangier Easter to fight the way he is capable of boxing.
“Adrien didn’t give me any advice [from] when he fought Mikey,” Easter said. “We talked about what went on in that fight after that fight happened. But his focus was more on me being myself. You know, forget what he didn’t do or none of that. He told me to be myself and to fight my fight.”
Kevin Cunningham, who trains Easter and Broner, has sensed that it’s important to Easter to defeat the opponent that beat Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC) in their 12-round, 140-pound bout last year.
“He’s motivated all the way around,” Cunningham said. “He’s motivated by the criticism of the subpar performances. He’s motivated by the fact that nobody’s giving him a chance in this fight. He’s motivated by the fact that Mikey beat AB, a guy he looks up to. So he has every motivational tool and chip on his shoulder that you could possibly have to get him psyched up and motivated for this fight. He came to camp early, put in the work, and he can fight.”
The 30-year-old Garcia (38-0, 30 KOs), of Oxnard, California, and the 27-year-old Easter (21-0, 14 KOs), of Toledo, Ohio, will headline Showtime’s tripleheader Saturday night (10 p.m. ET). They’ll fight for Garcia’s WBC and Easter’s IBF lightweight titles.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.