By Keith Idec
LOS ANGELES – Mikey Garcia didn’t mention Vasiliy Lomachenko’s name Thursday, but Garcia still delivered an unmistakable message.
Garcia believes that by beating Robert Easter Jr. on Saturday night he’ll establish himself as boxing’s best lightweight. Many media outlets and fans think that distinction belongs to Lomachenko, who won the WBA lightweight title by knocking out Jorge Linares in the 10th round of their May 12 fight at Madison Square Garden.
The 30-year-old Garcia (38-0, 30 KOs), a four-division champion from Oxnard, California, hopes to prove his superiority over the highly regarded Ukrainian southpaw in the ring. Temporarily, though, Garcia considers a victory over Easter enough to move ahead of Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) on the list of elite lightweights.
“I think a lot of that is up to opinions,” Garcia said in response to a question asked by Showtime’s Brian Custer during a press conference Thursday. “And just like Robert says, he doesn’t really pay attention to what one says, as opposed to someone else. I don’t really look at what the media might put down as the best in the division or any list. But overall, we’re the only two undefeated champions in the division. So the winner should be considered the best [lightweight in boxing].
“Whether some agree or not, that’s their opinion. But in my eyes, this winner will determine the best in the division. We’re the only two undefeated champions.”
Garcia and Easter, 27, will fight for Garcia’s WBC 135-pound championship and Easter’s IBF title in the main event of Showtime’s tripleheader Saturday night at Staples Center (10 p.m. ET). Most Internet sports books list Garcia as a 10-1 favorite over Easter, who owns a five-inch height advantage and an eight-inch edge in reach.
Garcia has moved back down from 140 pounds for his lightweight title unification fight versus Easter, of Toledo, Ohio. He won the IBF junior welterweight in his last bout by out-pointing Kazakhstan’s Sergey Lipinets (13-1, 10 KOs) in their 12-round fight March 10 at Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.