LOS ANGELES -- Mikey Garcia is not kidding about his desire to move up to welterweight for a November or December fight with world titlist Errol Spence Jr., who said he would welcome the challenge.
Spence was ringside at the Staples Center on Saturday night to watch as Garcia easily outpointed Robert Easter Jr. to unify lightweight world titles before a crowd of 12,560 and then declared himself ready to move up two weight classes for the audacious challenge, a move Ringstar Sports promoter Richard Schaefer and Spence described as "daring to be great."
Garcia said steadfastly leading up to the fight with Easter that following a victory he wanted to face Spence in a supremely dangerous fight.
After he had indeed beaten Easter, knocking him down in the third round and winning 118-109, 117-110 and 116-111, Garcia, who has won world titles at featherweight, junior lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight, strongly reiterated his desire for the fight. It would mean the opportunity to win a world title in a fifth weight division.
"There's only a select few who have accomplished that feat," Garcia said at his post-fight news conference. "I'm here in search of that. I'm not just trying to pick up a belt against a nobody. I'm going after the best fighter, the most dangerous man at welterweight. I'm trying to get that because that's what will cement my name. No one else is doing that right now. There's no other fighter on the planet that's doing what I'm doing."
Garcia and Spence are both among the top few pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs), 30, of Moreno Valley, California, would face extreme disadvantages in the size and power departments. Spence is also a skillful boxer with a lot of experience, but Garcia said he is undaunted.
"I can try to use speed, angles, footwork," he said. "There's a lot of things I can use to overcome that height, that reach, the southpaw [stance], the strength, all that. I'm prepared to do what it takes to win that fight. He's a terrific fighter. He's an experienced fighter. He's very strong. He's a dangerous man. I don't know if I can surprise him. He knows the kind of fighter I am. I think what will surprise him is how well I can do other things. I ain't asking for no catch weight either."
Spence would prefer to unify welterweight world titles, but those fights are not available to him at the moment. Titleholder Keith Thurman is injured and his return date is not clear, plus when he does come back he first wants a tuneup fight after having not boxed since March 2017.
Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia meet on Sept. 8 for a vacant world title, and the winner won't be ready to fight Spence before the end of the year, so Spence said a major fight with Mikey Garcia interests him.
"Definitely I want that fight. I feel like that's the best fight available for me right now with Shawn and Danny fighting in September," Spence said. "Keith Thurman is still recovering and needs a tuneup. [Garcia is] daring to be great. He wants to be great. He wants to move up and dethrone me, and it's not going to happen.
"He will be pound-for-pound No. 1 if he beats me, but it's not going to happen. He has great skills, but I see myself winning. I don't really see anything that concerns me. He's technically good, but I don't see him hurting me at 147."
Spence (24-0, 21 KOs), 28, of DeSoto, Texas, who would make his third defense against Garcia, said he thought Garcia looked good against Easter but that he didn't see anything that he thought would give him anything to be too worried about.
"He looked like the same Mikey Garcia," Spence said. "It was a good technical fight and he showed his boxing ability, so it will be a challenge. He's very smart in the ring, but I am always confident in my abilities. He's the biggest name I can get right now.
"I'm definitely licking my chops. I'm excited. I can box him, I can walk him down. I feel I'm the stronger, better fighter -- period. This is the first guy calling me out. He's definitely serious about it. It gets me pumped up that he's calling me out."
Robert Garcia, Mikey's older brother and trainer, and their father, Eduardo, have misgivings about Mikey taking on Spence, but Robert Garcia said they are all in if it's what Mikey wants.
"We've always said we shouldn't move too fast and take that chance right now because we're doing great at lightweight, even junior welterweight, but that's what Mikey wants," Robert Garcia said. "We know that he has the skills. It's not going to be easy, but Mikey loves his chances. This will probably be the first fight that he's ever had where he's going to be the underdog, and I think that's what's going to motivate him even more. We're going to take the fight."
Robert Garcia said that if Mikey wants to go to welterweight, he and his father think he'd be better off pursuing a fight with aging legend Manny Pacquiao, who recently won a secondary welterweight belt.
"But that doesn't interest Mikey," Robert Garcia said.
Easter (21-1, 14 KOs) showed tremendous respect for Garcia following their fight, paying a visit to his dressing room afterward to congratulate him and each member of his team on the victory. But he later said at the news conference that Spence might be too much for him.
"Mikey's a true champion and a warrior, but Errol Spence is a different breed," Easter said. "He's an animal, man."
But the fight seems inevitable at this point since both fighters want it and there are no political or television network issues getting in the way of making it. They share adviser Al Haymon and they are both associated with Showtime, which is anxious to put on the fight.
Schaefer, who works on a fight-by-fight basis promoting Mikey Garcia, said the fight would "definitely" be a pay-per-view bout
"Las Vegas is the perfect place," Schaefer said. "Mikey and Errol Spence both want to have the fight, they have the same adviser, so we'll see if it can be put together. Usually when two fighters want to fight, two fighters who are in control of their own destiny, it's relatively easy to get stuff done. I think this is going to be a big, big pay-per-view. We're going to do a big number."