By: Sean Cross
Former lightweight king Teofimo Lopez was engaged in his second junior welterweight fight on Saturday night when he faced Sandor Martin in a scheduled ten-rounder at Madison Square Garden. The Lopez-Martin fight was the main event of the card, which was televised live on ESPN.
Lopez answered the opening bell by coming out as forcefully as he had come out to face George Cambossos in his only fight to that point. Lopez went down in the first seconds of the second round. He quickly got up, but it was surprising to see Martin send him to the mat, no matter how short. With that in mind, Lopez looked to get the better of his man for the rest of the round.
The third was something of a chess match, with each man biding his time, Lopez on the hunt and Martin fighting in a defensive format. Martin landed well several times in the fourth, but Lopez was doing a good job of shooting the man to the body. Moreover, Martin began to bleed profusely from the head injury. Martin had a strong fifth round but it was clear that he was catching up to Lopez as he tactically retreated.
Lopez started to look a little frustrated in the sixth, as he couldn’t get clean on the man on a regular basis. Still, both men managed to shoot each other in the final seconds. Lopez appeared to be the victim of a second strikeout in the top of the seventh, though the umpire ruled he had slipped. The rest of the rounds were close enough to make scoring difficult.
The eighth round was close, but Lopez’s straight shot to the body might have edged him. In the ninth it looked like Martin’s own patience might finally work against him. With one round to go, no one was on top. That being said, the tenth and final round saw Lopez barrel, while Martin managed to land some impressive shots.
The judges scored a split decision win for Lopez, one point for Martin 95-94, one point for Lopez 96-93, and one point for Lopez 97-92.