Final Presser for Teofimo Lopez vs Sandor Martin
This Saturday Teofimo Lopez (17-1, 13 ko) takes on Sandor Martin (40-2, 13 ko) for Lopez’s NABF & WBO International Junior Welterweight Titles/WBC final eliminator. Though Martin is a pretty massive underdog going into this fight, much the same way as he was against Mikey Garcia, you would have no idea by his demeanor or the look in his eyes. “For me, this is the biggest thing that has ever happened to me in my career as an athlete. Basically, in my country, it’s very difficult to be a boxer and come out of Spain. It’s taken a professional career of 42 professional fights across 11 years to have an opportunity like this. As soon as I got the opportunity, I couldn’t reject it. Teofimo Lopez. Madison Square Garden. Top Rank. It’s about making history.”
“I’ve come to win. I respect Teofimo Lopez very much and the career that he’s had as a professional athlete. I respect him a lot as a boxer. I only hope that we deliver a great fight and we come out the ring healthy on Saturday. This is a special moment for me. But I don’t look beyond this fight. At the end of the day, he and I live in two different worlds. He lives in the world of entertainment and I live in the boxing world. When he was recording interviews, watching the Knicks and shopping, I was training. That’s the difference you will see on Saturday.”
Lopez, for his part, looked like a calm veteran, a man much older than his biological age. He’s been through a lot in the sport, and you can tell by how he holds himself now.
“I think that we all have a canvas to perform on. I’m an artist myself. So, I’m over here trying to be as abstract as possible when I’m in the ring. It’s all about giving the fans what they really want, which is entertainment. We are in the entertainment business, not the boxing business. And you guys got to remember that. So, by all means, go after everything that you can do. I’ve followed the likes of Prince Naseem. And those are the things that you guys will see. That doesn’t mean I have to showboat like crazy. However, it’s all about giving the fans what they really want.”
“The only surprise that I think everyone will see is how much better I got since my first career loss. What I would like to tell everyone here is that you never really lose. The only time you ever really lose is when you quit. When you say ‘No Mas.’ That’s when you lose.”
He also referenced during the press conference that Pedraza presented a different challenge than Martin because of his ability to seamlessly switch stances. While that may be partially true, Martin is a man in his prime coming off the best win of his career and looking to top it.
In the co-feature, Jared Anderson (12-0, 12 ko) takes on veteran contender Jerry Forrest (26-5-2, 20 ko) in what is by far his toughest test to date as a professional. Forrest has been in with some of the best at heavyweight, including decision losses to Jermaine Franklin and Kubrat Pulev and draws with both Michael Hunter and Zhileil Zhang, and Anderson, dressed like the main event fighter, knows exactly what he’s up against. “Without a doubt, this is my toughest opponent to date. His record speaks for itself. He’s been in there with some of the best and has gone the distance with some of the best. We come ready to go the distance. We’re 12-round fight ready. We train for it, both in and out of the ring and every day.”
Also on the card, junior middleweight prospect Xander Zayas (14-0, 10 ko) takes on Alexis Salazar Flores (24-4, 9 ko) in an 8 rounder. When asked what he sees in his opponent that he can take advantage of, he said “I did watch a couple videos. I don’t want to give away too much of the game plan. But we are ready for Saturday night.” Salazar may not be a world beater, but he’s another Zayas opponent with quite a bit more professional experience than him.
Olympic silver medalist and lightweight prospect Keyshawn Davis (6-0, 5 ko) also takes on by far his toughest test to date when he takes on contender Juan Carlos Burgos (35-6-3, 21 ko). Burgos, who has been in with a who’s who of his era including Devin Haney and Mikey Garcia, is fighting his third fight at the Garden. “This is a legendary venue. I will have fought three times here already. I have had a loss and a draw, but this Saturday I’m coming for the win. We had a great a great camp. I know it won’t be an easy fight, but I have the confidence and certainty that I will walk away with my hand raised.”
For his part, Davis said “As a pro fighter, he’s definitely the toughest fighter I’ve fought. He’s definitely going to bring new challenges to the ring that most likely I haven’t seen before. He’s a vet. He’s fought Mikey Garcia and a lot of other champions. I’m happy he took this fight, and I’m excited to see how things will turn out.”
This bout could prove to be the sleeper on the card. The vast majority of prospects in Davis’ position don’t take this big of a jump this early in their career. It’s a risk, but a win could put Davis in the position to potentially be a legitimate contender in just his seventh professional fight, a speed of progression that we haven’t seen since Vasiliy Lomachenko. And for Burgos, a win against a prospect like Keyshawn Davis puts him back in position for another big fight at 135.
Bruce Carrington vs. Juan Tapia, 8/6 rounds, Featherweight
Joe Ward vs. Frederic Julan, 6 rounds, Light Heavyweight
Damian Knyba vs. Emilio Salas, 6 rounds, Heavyweight
Jahi Tucker vs. Ivan Pandzic, 8 rounds, Welterweight
Tiger Johnson vs. Mike Ohan Jr., 8 rounds, Junior Welterweight