As the year 2022 winds down, arguably the last what this observer often calls “Marathon Day” of Boxing features a fight that some might argue is under the radar amongst all of what remains on the Boxing schedule this year, but is one of the more interesting bouts yet to take place. Yours truly is referring to the Jr. Welterweight encounter between former Undisputed Lightweight world champion Teofimo Lopez and Jr. Welterweight contender Sandor Martin. A fight that will be taking place on December 10th at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY and can be seen on digital subscription sports streaming network ESPN+.
This bout will be the second for Lopez since moving up from the 135lb. Lightweight division to the 140lb. Jr. Welterweight division. In his Jr. Welterweight debut, Lopez scored a seventh round stoppage of Pedro Campa in August of this year. Although Lopez had some difficulty with Campa early, he was eventually able to break him down and get the stoppage. While not necessarily the stat-making performance that some may have expected in his first fight since losing the Undisputed World Lightweight championship to George Kambosos in November of last year, Lopez did what he needed to do and the victory likely served as a confidence booster following the first loss of his career. The former world champion now looks to continue building momentum in his second bout in a new weight class.
Originally, Lopez was slated to face former two-division world champion Jose Pedraza on December 10th, but Pedraza pulled out of the fight due to illness. Enter Sandor Martin. Martin, a veteran of forty-two professional fights, is a slick and crafty boxer that has been unbeaten since 2017. In addition to a current eleven fight winning streak, Martin, has held the European Jr. Welterweight championship in his career. Despite his credentials and significant momentum coming into this fight. Martin might not be viewed as a marquee name. It was not long ago however, where Martin in a position similar to the one he finds himself in going into this bout as the opponent for a former world champion in the midst of a rebuilding process, scored a twelve round majority decision over former four-division world champion Mikey Garcia in October of last year, a fight that signaled the end of Garcia’s career.
What this fight cones down to in my eyes is whether or not Martin will be able to avoid the punching power of Lopez and nullify his pressure. In his eighteen bout career, Lopez quickly developed a reputation for his ability to score quick and often devastating knockouts that enabled him to quickly ascend to the top of the Lightweight division. The one loss in his career however, came against a fighter in George Kambosos that was able to out box and out work him over the course of twelve rounds. This fight will be scheduled for ten rounds, but Martin is a crafty boxer that uses angles, lateral movement, and often attacks opponents in spurts of combinations.
Although Lopez has the reputation as a power punching “Knockout Artist,” he did show an ability to box in his fight against Vasyl in October 2020, the fight where he successfully unified the Lightweight championship to become Undisputed world champion. Much like Lomachenko, Martin can do a little bit of everything and it will be interesting to see if Lopez will try to implement a similar strategy in this fight as he was able to surprise many by out Boxing and out working Lomachenko, given the skillset Martin has shown in his career.
While Martin does have a significant edge in terms of overall experience, one might assume given the difference in punching power between the two, that Martin might have to box a perfect fight from start to finish if he wants to be successful in this bout. Even though Lopez is the fighter with the name recognition clout going into this fight and will likely have the support of the crowd inside Madison Square Garden, Sandor Martin is not a fighter to overlook and if he can once again play spoiler and defeat Lopez as he did Mikey Garcia, a victory in this fight will likely catapult him into a world championship fight in 2023. A loss for Lopez at this stage in his career would not signal the end of his career or the end as an attraction or a contender, but a second loss in his last three fights would likely set him back even further from his goal of trying to become a two division world champion.
For a fight that whether intended or not is under the radar, there is certainly a lot at stake for both fighters here in what by all appearances has the look of an interesting clash of styles between two of the best the Jr. Welterweight division has to offer. Who will emerge victorious remains to be seen.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.“
Lopez vs. Martin takes place on Saturday, December 10th at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY. The fight as well as it’s full undercard can be seen in the United States on digital subscription sports streaming network ESPN+ at 5:55PM ET/2:55PM PT. ESPN+ is available through the ESPN app on mobile, tablet, and connected streaming devices/Smart TVs. For more information about ESPN+ including schedules, list of compatible streaming devices, platforms, Smart TVs, and to subscribe please visit: www.ESPNPlus.com.
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