Teofimo Lopez Less Than Impressive Against Sandor Martin
A key junior welterweight battle took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City as Teofimo Lopez (18-1, 13 KOs) faced Sandor Martin (40-3, 13 KOs) in a WBC world title eliminator.
After defeating Vasyl Lomachenko to become the unified lightweight champion in November 2020, the following year was a “nightmare-ish” one.
After alienating many fans for what they perceived as a fighter who had gotten too big for his britches, in November 2021, he lost the lightweight belts by an upset split-decision to George Kambosos Jr. Humbled, and on the comeback, the 25-year-old moved up to 140 pounds. In his debut bout in the junior welterweight division, Lopez racked up a seventh-round stoppage over Pedro Campa in August 2022
He took on a Martin who came full of confidence. The 29-year-old from Barcelona, Spain, made waves when he scored a majority decision win over multiple-divisional world champion Mikey Garcia in October 2021. Martin followed that up with a unanimous decision victory over Jose Felix in April 2022.
FIGHTING THROUGH ADVERSITY
Bleeding from the nose in round one, Martin put Lopez down with a short check-hook early in the second. In previewing this fight, Martin’s jab and footwork were highlighted. During the first four rounds, the Spaniard used those assets to good effect. While the blood was still flowing from his nose, the Spaniard did a terrific job of boxing. Whenever Lopez tried to put on pressure, Martin countered, then easily stepped out o the way.
In the middle rounds, Lopez began landing with some power shots to the head and body. However, they were not in combination. His problem was the lack of a jab and the inability to set things up. Meanwhile, Martin continued to step around his foe and potshot. Lopez’ best punch of the night was a hard right hand in the last half-minute of the final round.
It became a question of what you preferred; the singular hard punches of Lopez or the boxing from Martin. The judges liked what they saw from Lopez, giving him the fight by split decision (95-94 Martin, 96-93, and 97-92 Lopez). In full transparency, this reporter scored the fight for Martin.
Afterwards, Lopez accused Martin of running and said he would love to fight any of the world champions at 140. But before that interview, ESPN cameras caught Lopez asking his team if he still “have “has it” as a fighter. Despite getting the decision, there are clear questions about Lopez’ confidence moving forward.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.