Press Conference Notes: Teofimo Lopez ready to take over MSG against Sandor Martin
Lopez-Martin headlines stacked quadruple-header SATURDAY Live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT
Photos Courtesy: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images
Former lightweight king and current junior welterweight contender Teofimo Lopez has fought twice on "Heisman Night" in New York City.
In 2018, he knocked out Mason Menard with a right hand 44 seconds into the opening round. In 2019, he iced Richard Commey in two rounds to win the IBF lightweight world title.
After both triumphs, he put on the jersey of that year's Heisman Trophy winner. So, the question remains: What will "The Takeover" do in 2022?
Lopez will (17-1, 13 KOs) will fight former European junior welterweight king Sandor Martin (40-2, 13 KOs) in the 10-round main event at Madison Square Garden. Lopez-Martin tops a televised quadruple-header airing immediately after the Heisman Trophy Ceremony at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+. Heavyweight sensation Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson aims for his 13th straight knockout against the battle-tested Jerry “Slugger” Forrest, Puerto Rican junior middleweight star Xander Zayas steps up in class against 28-fight veteran Alexis Salazar, and 2020 Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis looks to jumpstart his world title ambitions in a lightweight duel versus Juan Carlos Burgos.
At Thursday's press conference, this is what the fighters had to say:
Teofimo Lopez: “We all have an opportunity here. We all have an objective to do on Saturday night. My whole thing is, ‘How do we continue the Takeover?’ We just got to keep winning. Whoever they put in front of us, we beat them.
“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.”
Sandor Martin: “I am absolutely ready for this fight. That’s why I have come. It was a preparation that was done on three weeks’ notice, but I had been training because I’m an athlete 24/7, every day of the year. 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.”
Jared Anderson: “It was a great camp. We always come prepared to go the distance in every fight. We did what we needed to do. We did a great job, and we came in shape. 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.”
Jerry Forrest: “He’s a good fighter, and his camp is smart. I don’t think anyone ever overlooks me. If you’ve seen me fight before, there is no way that you’re going to overlook me. In the fight against Pulev, I learned a lot about myself. That was my first fight with an injury. So, I learned how to deal with an injury inside the ring and make it work for you. I had to make sure that I went back to camp fully healed first. But, now I’m back. If you’ve seen me work before, then you know what I do.”
Xander Zayas: “I’m excited to be back in New York. I had the opportunity to fight here in March. Then, I had to cancel the fight in June, so being back here as the NABO champion means a lot more. I have a great veteran fighter in front of me with a great coaching staff. So, I have to keep the game plan going, have fun in there and keep listening to my corner. And everything else will fall in place. 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.”
Alexis Salazar: “I’m prepared for this fight. I did a good camp. I’m feeling really good. The weight’s good. Everything is good. I expect a good fight. He’s a good fighter. I respect my opponent. He’s a good fighter. I’m like everybody else; I came here to win. And I’m ready to take the win. It’s upset season.”
Keyshawn Davis: “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.”
Juan Carlos Burgos: “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.”
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with OPI Since ’82, tickets starting at $51 are on sale now at Ticketmaster.com.
Follow the Top Rank YouTube Channel for daily fight week content ahead of Lopez-Martin.
ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+ (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT)
Teofimo Lopez vs. Sandor Martin
10×3 Lopez's NABF & WBO International Junior Welterweight Titles/WBC final eliminator
Jared Anderson vs. Jerry Forrest
10×3 vacant WBO Intercontinental and Silver USNBC Heavyweight Titles
Xander Zayas vs. Alexis Salazar
8×3 Zayas' NABO and vacant USNBC Junior Middleweight Titles
Keyshawn Davis vs. Juan Carlos Burgos
8×3 vacant WBO Intercontinental and USNBC Lightweight Titles
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