Mikey Garcia unified the WBC and IBF lightweight titles late Saturday by overpowering Robert Easter in a battle of undefeated champions.
The 30-year-old Garcia retained his WBC title and grabbed Easter's IBF belt with a unanimous decision victory at Staples Center arena in downtown Los Angeles.
Garcia seized control of the fight early, flooring American Easter in the third round with a left hook to the chin. It was just the second time in his career that Easter was knocked down. Easter recovered from the knockdown but failed to mount a sustained attack outside of his jab, and was almost knocked down again in the ninth round.
Garcia is now 5-0 with two knockouts since returning from a 30-month exile from the sport due a battle with promoter Top Rank.
The three judges scored it 118-109, 117-110 and 116-111 as Garcia improved to 39-0 overall after this fight which marks a return to the lightweight division. He won a junior welterweight belt in February but had to vacate it to face Easter.
Garcia immediately threw down the gauntlet to Errol Spence saying in the ring that for his next fight he wants to move up to the welterweight division to fight for Spence's IBF belt.
The 27-year-old Easter suffered the first loss of his career to drop to 21-1, with 14 KOs. He was making his fourth title defense of the vacant belt he won in 2016.
The lanky Easter, who had a 20 centimeter (eight inch) reach advantage, stuck to his game plan and hung in there to the final bell.
After the fight was over, Easter offered up no excuses in defeat.
"Whenever we step in the ring, we are both putting our lives on the line and tonight Mikey was victorious," said Easter, who entered the fight as the longest reigning champion at 135 pounds.
"I just couldn't find the timing and I just couldn't let my right hand go. He caught me with a clean shot and I went down, but I got up like a true champion."