Newly belted four-division world champion Mikey Garcia is moving toward a long-sought homecoming bout at Staples Center, according to several officials connected to the negotiations.
World Boxing Council champion Garcia, raised in Oxnard and now training in Riverside, is eyeing a lightweight title unification bout against International Boxing Federation champion Robert Easter Jr., with July 28 and two mid-late August dates on hold at Staples Center.
WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman told reporters last week that Garcia-Easter was in the works. Showtime would televise the bout.
Garcia (38-0, 30 knockouts) hasn’t fought in Los Angeles since 2011. He knocked out Dejan Zlaticanin in the third round in Las Vegas in January 2017 to capture the lightweight belt, and ventured to Texas in March to defeat Sergey Lipinets by decision to capture the IBF’s 140-pound belt, which he has since relinquished.
In Easter (21-0, 14 KOs), Garcia confronts a difficult, tall, lanky champion whose 76-inch reach is eight inches longer than Garcia’s, while Easter stands five inches taller than Garcia.
“You have to hand it to Mikey. He likes to take dangerous fights,” said an official who declined to be identified since contract details still are being finalized.
Another individual familiar with the talks said, “It’s important to Mikey to fight in Southern California. There still could be options other than Easter, but he’s the leading contender because that’s the biggest fight possible.”
Garcia’s brother/trainer, Robert Garcia, was thrilled to hear of the progress when contacted Monday, minutes after Mikey Garcia tweeted a photo of himself in training with the message, “Staying sharp. I’ll have some news for you guys soon.”
A date at Staples would mark Garcia’s first fight there since a June 4, 2011 card that included Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s middleweight title victory over Sebastian Zbik in the main event, and Vanes Martirosyan scoring a technical-knockout victory over Saul Roman in the co-main event.
Garcia proceeded to featherweight and super-featherweight belts before further elevating his profile with a victory over former four-belt champion Adrien Broner last year.