IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr. will be defending his title on January 20, but could have had a much different opponent just a couple of months earlier.
In a conference call Fightful participated in, Easter expanded on the rumored failed negotiations that could have pitted Easter against WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia late last year. Easter said he wanted to fight, but Garcia wasn't interested, instead taking a fight at 140 pounds to challenge for the IBF title held by Sergey Lipinets in February.
"I wanted to fight. It was serious on my side. I wanted to fight. I didn't care where at. I don't care about any of that. I wanted to fight. At first it was I didn't produce enough fans or the fight didn't make sense, which that didn't make sense, and some other excuses the guy came up with. But like I said, I was ready to fight whenever, whatever, how much. It didn't even matter. We didn't actually get an offer. I guess they made an offer towards him. Like I said, I didn't really care," Easter said.
In response to Garcia's apparent non-interest and reasoning for not taking a unification fight against Easter, the IBF champion simply scoffed, saying Garcia's opponent hasn't done much more than Easter to warrant a fight.
"That's just a lame excuse to say when I fight, I don't produce enough fans. What does Lipinets do? No disrespect to him, but come on now. Everybody knows that is not true," Easter said.
A potential fight between Garcia and Easter will take at least half a year to make, since after Garcia's fight against Lipinets, he'll have to unify titles with WBA champion Jorge Linares and it is rumored to happen later this summer. Easter will defend his title against Javier Fortuna in Easter's third title defense on the Showtime Championship Boxing card taking place at the Barclays Center. The fight will be the co-main event to the Errol Spence Jr. vs. Lamont Peterson IBF welterweight title fight.