He surprised many people when he beat Vasyl Lomachenko a few years ago. Now, following a surprise loss to himself a short time later, Teofimo Lopez is working to establish himself at junior welterweight. A colorful and powerful New Yorker, Lopez is undoubtedly must-see television, which is why fans will tune into ESPN Saturday night when the 17-1 fighter fights 40-2 Sandor Martin in the main event at a Madison Square Garden paper. Martin is best known for upsetting the popular Mikey Garcia in 2021, a victory which subsequently led to Garcia retiring from the ring with his health and wealth intact.
In truth, this is not an easy win for Lopez, assuming it ends up being a win. Martin is a puzzler in the ring. Garcia was perhaps one of the most deliberate fighters of his era and could not understand Martin. Will Lopez succeed? He hits harder than Garcia, for sure, but Lopez has yet to prove that her power over him has been fully transferred since he moved from lightweight to junior welterweight. There is no doubt that Lopez will be the favorite to come in, but he will need to be in top form if he is to beat Martin in front of his hometown crowd.
Sure enough, the only man to defeat Lopez, George Kambosos, was himself an awkward fighter. However, Lopez tried to make it too early in that fight, clearly hoping for an early knockout. Suffice it to say, he’s likely learned from the experience. It’s also worth noting that Lopez did, after all, beat Vasyl Lomachenko, arguably one of the clumsiest fighters in the history of the sport. Believe it or not, there’s a lot going on in Saturday’s fight for the man. Names like Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis are possible opponents should Lopez perform well this weekend.
Plus, Lopez does right by her promoter, Top Rank, simply by virtue of the fact that she has a colorful personality. “I needed to leave the 130-pounder division because I no longer needed to lead by example there,” she said Fight hub. Fun? Of course, but also intelligent. Such statements attract eyes, interest and, ultimately, dollars. As well as Lopez’s sudden yell at Martin during a promotional face-off. Truth be told, there is only one Teofimo Lopez, and he wants you to know it. However, whether or not he will take over the junior welterweight division the way he did the lightweight division remains to be seen.