By Adam Baskin: Sandor Martin is ready to make history on Saturday night by sending Teofimo Lopez down to his second career defeat to put himself in a position to challenge WBC light welterweight champion Regis ‘Rougarou’ Prograis.
Martin (40-2, 13 KOs) has already sized the former unified lightweight champion Teofimo (17-1, 13 KOs) and believes he’s got the beating of him tomorrow night when the two 140-pounders headline on ESPN at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Martin, 29, says he doesn’t rate Teofimo as being in the same league as former four-division world champion Mikey Garcia, a fighter he sent into retirement last year in October after outboxing the once-great champ in a one-sided manner.
Teofimo, 25, has come across as a confused person in the build-up to Saturday’s fight, rambling and sounding like he was repeating psycho-babble that he’d either read or been told to him.
One gets the sense from listening to Teofimo speak, he’s a deeply troubled fighter, still trying to make sense of what happened to him in his loss to George Kambosos Jr.
It’s clear that the success that Teofimo enjoyed at 135 was a result of a combination of weak opposition and his having a size advantage over his opponents. Teo was able to get away with that for a while, but once his body could no longer melt down to 135 for him to bully smaller foes, he was beaten.
If Teofimo loses to Martin on Saturday, it’ll be interesting to see if he follows Mikey Garcia into retirement. Sticking around to continue fighting will surely see Teofimo suffer additional defeats because if he can’t hack it against Sandor and Kambosos, it means he’s not equipped to swim with the sharks at 135 or 140.
If Top Rank chooses to dump Teofimo, perhaps BLK Prime might opt to sign him to a short contract because they seem to be targeting fading fighters.
Returning to 135 to resume being a weight bully isn’t a realistic option for Teofimo because he’s outgrown the division.
“I feel good. I feel good in preparation for the last three weeks. It’s special for me to fight at Madison Square Garden,” said Sandor Martin to Fighthype ahead of Saturday’s fight with Teofimo Lopez.
“I will fight tomorrow for the fans. It’s a special opportunity. It’s my moment to make history,” Martin said. “The Mikey Garcia fight was absolutely different. Teofimo is in his prime, and I accept the challenge.
“I’m going to win this fight 100%. No,” said Sandor when asked if he views Teofimo as a better fighter than Mikey Garcia. “Listen, Mikey Garcia is a four division world champion. That’s really difficult sport of boxing.
“Teofimo lost against Kambosos. You can’t compare the career of Mikey Garcia. “I feel relaxed. It’s not a problem. I enjoy this moment. It’s part of boxing. It’s part of the show business.
“I’m confident in my mind and my heart. That’s the most important thing for a fighter. My heart & my mind is bigger than the heart & the mind of Teofimo. I’m going to show tomorrow at Madison.
“Regis Prograis is the next. I win the world title; it’s my dream. I’m going to be the world champion one day, but not tomorrow. Tomorrow is to get closer to being the world champion,” said Martin.