UNCASVILLE, Connecticut – Ryan Martin lives every day with his poor performance in the biggest fight of his career.

Two years and three months after his technical-knockout loss to Josh Taylor, the junior welterweight will get his opportunity to start atoning for it. Martin views his 12-round fight against Robert Easter Jr. on Saturday night as the first step on his path toward re-establishing himself as a legitimate contender in the 140-pound division.

Defeating Easter, a former IBF lightweight champ, clearly would be the most noteworthy win of Martin’s seven-year pro career.

“This is a big fight,” Martin told BoxingScene.com. “This fight can get me back, I believe, in the top five in the world in the division. It can put me in a position where I’m a legit contender to fight for one of the major titles and just be on the cusp of taking on any of the top guys.”

Showtime will televise Easter-Martin as the opener of a three-bout broadcast from Mohegan Sun Arena (9 p.m. EST; 6 p.m. PST). Martin intends to let his hands go, which was his primary problem when Scotland’s Taylor picked him apart and stopped Martin (24-1, 14 KOs) in the seventh round of their World Boxing Super Series quarterfinal in November 2018 at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow.

“It’s gonna be an electric fight, man,” Martin said. “I feel like Easter’s style is gonna accommodate me because he’s a counter-puncher. He likes to sit there and he likes to get comfortable, so I feel like it’s gonna bring the best out of both of us. I’m looking forward to it. I’m actually excited about this fight because of the history we have.

“I know this is a fight I need, too. I need to put on a performance to shut all the critics up who say I shut down in the Taylor fight. In this fight, I need to go out here and perform. I’m actually not fighting Easter – I’m fighting myself.”

The 27-year-old Martin, a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, relocated to Tampa and changed trainers, from Abel Sanchez to Mark Farrait, following his loss to Taylor (17-0, 13 KOs), who went on to win the IBF and WBA 140-pound titles. After winning two tune-up bouts by knockout since June 27, Martin jumped at the opportunity to encounter Easter (22-1-1, 14 KOs).

Martin lost to Easter in a USA Boxing qualifying tournament for the 2012 Summer Olympics. He also served as one of Easter’s sparring partners before Easter beat Richard Commey by split decision to win the IBF 135-pound championship in September 2016.

“This is a fight I always knew would happen,” Martin said. “I didn’t know when it would happen. But even when we sparred, when he was getting ready for his title fight, I knew me and Easter would fight one day.”

Martin remembers those sparring sessions well and is eager to avenge his loss to Easter in the amateurs. Easter has lost only to Mikey Garcia, who was undefeated when he out-boxed Easter in their IBF lightweight title fight in July 2018 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“Easter ain’t a pushover,” Martin said. “He’s been a world champion. He’s been in there with top guys his last five, six fights. So, this is gonna elevate me tremendously.”

Showtime will televise a 12-round heavyweight bout between Dominic Breazeale (20-2, 18 KOs), of Eastvale, California, and Otto Wallin (21-1, 14 KOs, 1 NC), of Sundsvall, Sweden, immediately after Easter-Martin. Cincinnati’s Adrien Broner (33-4-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC) and Puerto Rico’s Jovanie Santiago (14-0-1, 10 KOs) are set to meet in the main event, a 12-round welterweight fight.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.