Teofimo Lopez fights Sandor Martin on December 10th in a risky main event for Teo on ESPN+ at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The former unified lightweight champion Teofimo (17-1, 13 KOs) had been scheduled to face Jose Pedraza in the headliner on this date, but he pulled out due to an illness and was replaced by Martin (40-2, 13 KOs).
Martin is a tricky fighter with a problematic style that could be a nightmare for Teofimo. The Spaniard Martin sent former four-division world champion Mikey Garcia into retirement last year, beating him by a 10-round majority decision in October.
Although the fight was a majority decision, it was completely one-sided, with Martin dominating Mikey, taking advantage of his low work rate and his habit of loading up on everything.
If Teofimo Lopez wins this fight against Marin, he wants to challenge WBO light welterweight champion Josh Taylor in 2023.
Teofimo could regret taking the Martin fight because it’s a more complicated match-up than the previously scheduled Pedraza bout, and even more difficult than Teo’s bout against George Kambosos Jr in November of last year.
Top Rank should know from watching Teofimo getting beaten by Kambosos that he doesn’t have the boxing skills or the IQ to deal with slick fighters like Sandor Martin.
Why they’re choosing to feed Teofimo to Martin is a good question because there’s a high possibility that Teo will lose this fight. Even if Teofimo wins, he’s likely to look horrible.
In Teofimo’s last fight against Pedro Campa, he was getting schooled by the little-known Mexican fighter until his power bailed him out in the seventh.
Before the pullout of Pedraza, Teofimo had sounded disinterested in facing Martin, 29, after the fight had been ordered by the WBC at their convention. Teofimo had talked of wanting to go in a different direction.
There are a lot of boxing fans that believe that Teofimo has been ducking Arnold Barboza at 140. It’s not a good sign that Teofimo is already swerving fighters at light welterweight.
If Teofimo loses this one, it’s unclear where he can go from here. He got beaten by Kambosos, and he looked terrible in the second half against a one-armed Vasyk Lomamchenko and struggled badly against Masayoshi Nakatani.
After that fight, Teofimo said he didn’t want to fight any taller fighters anymore because Nakatani made him look so bad.
Sandor is coming off 10 round decision against Jose Felix in April in a dominating victory. Martin schooled Felix in the same way he did with Mikey and looked superb from start to finish.
Sandor Martin has agreed to a deal to fight Teofimo Lopez on Dec. 10 in New York, sources tell ESPN. Jose Pedraza withdrew from the 140-pound bout with a non-COVID illness. Martin scored a career-best win last year with an upset of Mikey Garcia. An upgrade over Pedraza, IMO.
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) November 17, 2022