By Keith Idec
LOS ANGELES – Kevin Cunningham still can’t figure out how Robert Easter Jr. does it.
Cunningham told Easter before he even turned pro that he shouldn’t attempt to fight at the lightweight limit. There was no way, Cunningham figured, that the 5-feet-11 Easter could get down to 135 pounds.
Nearly six years into his pro career, the 27-year-old Easter still makes lightweight pretty comfortably. Cunningham, Easter’s new trainer, got a close, extended look at Easter’s ability to get down to 135 pounds during their recently completed training camp at Cunningham’s gym in West Palm Beach, Florida.
“He hasn’t really had any weight issues at all,” Cunningham told BoxingScene.com. “He’s eating good. He’s not whining or anything like that, so he’s making the weight relatively easy. He’s looking strong, fast, you know, so everything’s going great.”
Easter (21-0, 14 KOs), of Toledo, Ohio, will weigh in Friday for his lightweight title unification fight against Mikey Garcia (38-0, 30 KOs). They’ll fight for Easter’s IBF lightweight title and Garcia’s WBC crown in the main event of a 15-bout card Saturday night at Staples Center.
Cunningham won’t be anxious at all when Easter approaches the California State Athletic Commission’s scale because Easter doesn’t struggle to get down to 135 pounds.
“It surprises me,” Cunningham said. “As a matter of fact, I was one guy who told him when he was about to turn pro – he hadn’t turned pro yet and they were talking about turning him pro at 135. I said, ‘Nah, man. You’re 6-feet tall, man. You might as well go ahead and fight at 140. You’ll kill yourself making 135.’ And he reminds me of that at every fight I see him at. ‘Coach, I’m still making 135.’ He’s basically 6 feet tall and somehow he’s fighting at 135.”
Easter will have a five-inch height advantage and an eight-inch reach advantage against Garcia, a four-division champion from Oxnard, California.
Garcia-Easter will headline Showtime’s tripleheader Saturday night.
Cuban heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs, 2 NC) will square off against Romania’s Razvan Cojanu (16-3, 9 KOs) in the 10-round co-feature. The three-bout broadcast will start at 10 p.m. ET with a 10-round, 140-pound bout between San Antonio’s Mario Barrios (21-0, 13 KOs) and Jose Roman (24-2-1, 16 KOs), of Garden Grove, California.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.