Not only do we have a very solid UFC Fight Night card on FOX this Saturday but we are also treated to a Showtime Boxing card featuring WBC Lightweight Champion Mikey Garcia in a unification bout with IBF Lightweight Champion Robert Easter.
Garcia, you might recall, was No. 7 on my list of best fighters right now (reminder, not as weighted on accomplishment, as perceived ability). Mikey (yes, Mikey not Danny for my loyal readers) is starting to create buzz outside of hardcore boxing fans but will need more than alphabet titles to enter the mainstream. Easter is another building block on a resume that already includes four World Titles in four different weight classes.
A win over Easter could line Garcia up for a crack at a big name fighter, but his fallout with former promotor Top Rank might cost him, the stable carries the biggest names around his weight class – Vasil Lomachenko, Terence Crawford and the cash cow Manny Pacquiao. Time will tell if any of those fights become a reality in the next year or two.
GARCIA -900 (Westgate, Station Casinos)
EASTER +700 (William Hill)
As always, check with your favorite book later in the week as more will add the fight as Saturday nears.
At 38-0 with 30 KOs, Garcia is a special talent; he walked right through World Champions and former top level guys. Easter’s best win came in a controversial split decision over No. 5 Ring Magazine Lightweight Richard Commey back in 2016 that won Easter the IBF crown. Easter is a decent boxer; he has good movement and uses his size well. However, as we saw in his fight with Javier Fortuna last January, Easter can be hit clean by someone who has great hand speed. Easter won another controversial split decision against Fortuna and should have lost that fight.
Garcia knows this, brings the hand speed and fights on a much higher level than Commey and Fortuna. I expect another classic performance from Garcia and he stops Easter in the 9th or 10th round. GARCIA
UFC on FOX
Fight Night comes from Calgary, Alberta, Canada with a fantastic free FOX card featuring Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier 2, Jose Aldo vs. Jeremy Stephens and Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Tecia Torres.
Alvarez and Poirier’s first fight at UFC 211 ended in a no-contest when Alvarez landed an illegal knee to Poirier while he was on the ground. I felt like it should have been a DQ win for Poirier but it was determined to be unintentional. Regardless, if you remember everything prior this was a fantastic fight. The rematch should be a dynamite main event for as long as it lasts. Both guys were hurt and it was a highly technical striking battle mixed with tons of action. Don’t miss it, get a taste and watch the fight on UFC Fight Pass. This, however, is not the fight I will be looking to bet.
Keep your eye on the Aldo-Stephens line; when it’s released I am expecting Aldo to be a small favorite to a pick’em. If this is the case I would want to back Stephens as he has beaten some quality opposition recently and Aldo just doesn’t seem to be the same fighter after two devastating knockout losses to UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway. STEPHENS