The fight would unify Garcia’s WBC title and Easter’s IBF title
The planned bout between Mikey Garcia and Jorge Linares is apparently off the table for now after Garcia declined to sign a multi-fight deal with Golden Boy Promotions. TheL.A. Times reports that Garcia will most likely face IBF lightweight champ Robert Easter Jr. on either December 16th or some date in January, while GBP president Eric Gomez tabs WBO champ Terry Flanagan as Linares’ next likely foe.
According to Lance Pugmire, Garcia (37-0, 30 KO) nearly signed to fight Miguel Cotto in the latter’s retirement fight before ultimately turning down both that deal and the long-term commitment to GBP that it entailed. Cotto now faces Saddam Ali on December 2nd.
I won’t even pretend that I have anywhere near the business acumen or intricate knowledge of the situation required to give a nuanced take, but it’s worth noting that Garcia lost 2.5 years of his prime to promotional disputes. I can understand hesitance to commit to another major contract.
Easter Jr. (20-0, 14 KO) isn’t quite as appealing a foe as Linares, who is among the few fighters in or around the division who can match Garcia’s technique, but he’s still a top-three lightweight with legitimate skills and power. He did, however, struggle with Richard Commey and Denis Shafikov, both excellent fighters but both ostensibly a step below Garcia.
In any event, here’s hoping whoever wins manages to fight Linares next year.