The crowd was electric as hometown champion Mikey Garcia walked to the ring. It’s been seven years since Garcia has fought in Los Angeles and he put on a show for the fans.
Garcia dominated Robert Easter Jr. to win by 12-round unanimous decision on Saturday night at the Staples Center. Judges ringside scored the bout 118-109, 116-111 and 117-110 all in favor of Garcia.
“I knew he was a tough opponent and a tough champion,” said Garcia during the post-fight interview. “I prepared for the best Robert Easter. I was the better fighter. I was in control of the fight and I did what I had to do to win.”
The taller Easter Jr. came out aggressive in the early rounds, looking to establish the jab and keep the distance. Garcia began to time his power shots and sent Easter Jr. to the canvas with just under 30 seconds left in the third round.
Garcia’s 1-2 combination set up the left hook that floored Easter Jr. who kept fighting after the knockdown. Midway through the bout, Garcia began to close the distance and timed his power shots well.
“Once I found that rhythm, I went to work,” said Garcia. “I caught him right on the chin as he was backing up and that’s what put him down. He has good hand speed so I had to be patient and careful.”
In the ninth round, Garcia started to attack the body but Easter Jr. found some openings and landed multiple shots.
“I just couldn’t find the timing,” said Easter Jr. “He caught with a clean shot [on the knockdown]. But I got up like a true champion and a true warrior.”
When asked what’s next, Garcia said he’s here for the biggest challenges and there’s no bigger challenge than IBF Welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. who was sitting ringside.
“I want to challenge myself to the fullest,” said Garcia. “I know he’s up for any fighter. I think there’s a very high chance it can be made. That’s the next big fight coming up.”
All photos by Showtime Boxing