Can Sandor Martin Knock Teofimo Lopez Off Course Early at 140?
Teofimo Lopez (17-1, 13 KOs) and Sandor Martin (40-2, 13 KOs) are considered two of the top ten junior welterweights in the world. They will face each other in a WBC world title eliminator at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The bout will air live on ESPN at 9 PM EST.
FEAST OR FAMINE
It wasn’t that long ago when Lopez was riding high and looked on top of the world. In October 2020, the pride of Brooklyn, New York, defeated one-time pound for pound king Vasyl Lomachenko to become the unified world lightweight champ. But in November 2021, Lopez lost the belts by a split decision to George Kambosos. After taking time off to recover from that devastating setback, Lopez now campaigns at 140.
One thing that cannot be questioned about Lopez is his physical talent. In his win over Lomachenko, he showed not only his boxing skills but patience and maturity beyond his years. But in his defeat against Kambosos, he fought as if he entered the ring with no game plan. At his best, Lopez combines those skills with speed and punching power which makes him one of the more explosive fighters in the sport.
To defeat Martin, the Brooklynite has to find a way to combat his opponent’s speed and southpaw jab. Martin is more of a boxer instead of a brawler. If Lopez sits back and waits, he is at risk of letting Martin set the pace and control the action. Therefore, Lopez must fight more on the attack and force the action.
The footwork of Lopez is critical in this one. He must be able to cut off the ring. Should he get on the inside, he has to pound that midsection. If Lopez can put some hurt on Martin and make this a fast-paced fight, the more he gives himself a chance to win.
DON’T GET DRAWN INTO A SHOOTOUT
Martin made international headlines with his defeat of multiple-divisional champion Mikey Garcia in October 2021. Throughout his career, the 29-year-old southpaw from Barcelona has shown himself to be an outstanding boxer. He uses his right jab to set things up and does a terrific job of making opponents fight his fight.
The Spaniard does a good job of using moving without being an outright runner. But he will bite down and stand in the pocket. His inside game is good, but not great. For him, skills pay the bill.
To beat Lopez, Martin must get that right-hand stick going early and often. Lopez is the more powerful fighter, so he can’t let this become a brawl. If this bout is fought at a slow pace and becomes a chess match, Martin’s chances of victory increase significantly.
The power and explosiveness of Lopez versus the slick boxing ability of Martin: which fighter can force their style on their opponent? The problem for Martin is, does he have the power to keep Lopez off? At times he gets the better of the action and will score. But, Lopez will surprise by showing his boxing ability, using that to find a home for his power.
Over time, it will make Martin somewhat hesitant. Understanding the assignment, Lopez will be focused and wins by a close decision.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.