With the talk in recent weeks, you would be forgiven for prepping yourself for a Mikey Garcia vs Errol Spence Jr match-up this weekend. But in truth you have a surprisingly under hyped unification fight between WBC Lightweight ruler Garcia, and the unbeaten IBF kingpin Robert Easter Jr.
The bout has received so little coverage, that the event on Saturday night will receive absolutely none at all in the UK, despite for the majority being the most interesting fight of the weekend.
But nothing in the build up to this fight has done the two combatants any justice. Far too many have already dismissed this fight and are looking ahead to future fights – something that seems the norm with boxing fans.
It is often these events that are so grossly overlooked that provide the most thrills, and with two stylists of such different physical appearance, this has all the makings of living up to that mantra.
Four weight world champion, Garcia 38-0(30KO’s) is the significant favourite, and with his past triumphs it is easy to see why the bookies have tipped Mikey so heavily.
There has been nothing shown in previous performances to suggest that a blip in the road is forthcoming for one of the pound-for-pound elite.
But this marks a step back down to the Lightweight division, after a pair of points victories at 140lbs, the former a dominant win over the oft-underachieving Adrien Broner, and the latter a victory over IBF Super Lightweight champ Sergey Lipinets.
Meanwhile Easter Jr 21-0(14KO’s) has yet to rubberstamp his mark on world level boxing.
The destructive nature of his wins prior to world title glory was enough for people to alert themselves to this freakishly tall and long reach.
But underrated Richard Commey pushed him all the way when Easter first claimed the IBF crown in 2016 with a split decision win.
Luis Cruz was never in the same league, but managed to see out the full 12 rounds, in spite of a trio of late knockdowns. Then mandatory Denis Shafikov was beaten in a scrappy affair in which Easter never managed to control the much shorter man from long and mid-range. A duo of 120-108 scorecards were appalling in what was a close fight.
Then earlier this year, an ill-disciplined Javier Fortuna came in overweight, but forced Easter into another fight that saw him betray his natural advantages. Had it not been for a 2nd round point deduction, Fortuna would have held the champion to a draw, but instead came up short.
When flowing Easter has all the looks of a fighter that is severely underappreciated, but those glimpses have yet to be enough to earn himself a standout win on the world scene.
Maybe it should be recognised that Commey, Shafikov and Fortuna were all far tougher and more awkward opponents than they are given credit for, and that maybe Garcia’s more conventional style will suit the Ohio man.
But even if that were the case, Garcia has gears to go through, and on the face of it there are far more gears in his motor than in that of Easter’s.
Unless Easter crumbles early, I cannot see a way for Garcia to get this contest over with inside the scheduled distance. Easter has shown to have a solid resistance, which has been put to the test thanks to a less than watertight guard.
There will be enough well contested rounds to make this far from a drab affair, but barring Easter shaking Garcia’s rhythm and reeling off successive rounds of dominant boxing from long-range, or even managing to force Garcia back, the likeliest outcome is for Garcia to rack up another world title belt on the judges’ scorecards.
And only then, after such a conclusion, thoughts can turn to a potential blockbuster with Spence Jr.