By Keith Idec
LOS ANGELES – It isn’t just the oddsmakers Kevin Cunningham feels have disrespected Robert Easter Jr.
Easter’s new trainer doesn’t think Mikey Garcia considers Easter a legitimate threat to his unblemished record, either. Cunningham claimed during a press conference Thursday at The Congo Room that Garcia has overlooked Easter by regularly discussing potential future fights against Errol Spence Jr. and Vasiliy Lomachenko.
“It’s obvious that, you know, basically for the last couple of weeks they’re talking more about Errol Spence and Lomachenko than [Easter],” Cunningham said, “as opposed to talking about this fight on Saturday night with Robert Easter Jr. So I look at that as disrespect and overlooking.
“But I think that, I mean, he’s got a seasoned trainer and Mikey’s a pro, so I mean, I don’t think they are totally overlooking him. But I think it’s totally disrespectful to talk about all these fights next when you haven’t dealt with Robert Easter Jr. yet.”
Easter insisted during and after the press conference that he hasn’t taken it personally when Garcia has talked about boxing Spence (23-0, 20 KOs), who owns the IBF welterweight title, and Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs), the WBA lightweight champ.
“He can ask for the fights,” Easter said. “We still have to fight. All that talking is irrelevant.”
The 30-year-old Garcia (38-0, 30 KOs), of Oxnard, California, is listed as a 10-1 favorite over the 27-year-old Easter (21-0, 14 KOs), of Toledo, Ohio. The lopsided odds haven’t affected Easter, either.
“It doesn’t bother me,” Easter said. “That doesn’t bother me. When you get in the ring, you’re equal.”
According to Easter, his supposed role in this lightweight title unification fight is no different than how he has looked at all of his fights.
“I feel like every fight I’m the underdog,” Easter said. “They always say I’m the least experienced, so I feel every fight I’m the underdog.”
Showtime will televise the 12-round title bout between Garcia, the WBC lightweight champ, and Easter, the IBF champ, as the main event of a tripleheader from Staples Center (10 p.m. ET).
Cuban heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs, 2 NC) will meet Romania’s Razvan Cojanu (16-3, 9 KOs) in the second fight of this three-bout broadcast. San Antonio’s Mario Barrios (21-0, 13 KOs) and Jose Roman (24-2-1, 16 KOs), of Garden Grove, California, will square off in the 10-round, 140-pound opener of this telecast.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.