Teofimo Lopez flexed as if the chiseled contender were a bodybuilder after he easily made weight Friday afternoon.
The former lightweight champion plans to figuratively flex some muscle Saturday night when he opposes Spanish southpaw Sandor Martin at Madison Square Garden in New York. Martin figures to be a more complicated opponent to figure out than Mexican veteran Pedro Campa, whom Lopez stopped in the seventh round August 13, but Lopez can inch closer to a WBC 140-pound title shot by beating the man who stunningly upset Mikey Garcia almost 14 months ago.
Their 10-round WBC elimination match became official when Lopez stepped on the New York State Athletic Commission’s scale at 139.2 pounds. Martin weighed in at 139.8 pounds.
Lopez (17-1, 13 KOs) is the WBC’s fourth-ranked contender in the super lightweight division. Martin (40-2, 13 KOs) is ranked fifth by the WBC.
The winner will become the WBC’s second mandatory challenger for newly crowned champion Regis Prograis (28-1, 24 KOs), who knocked out Jose Zepeda (36-3, 28 KOs, 2 NC) in the 11th round to win the then-unclaimed championship November 26 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. In accordance with the WBC’s rules related to fights for vacant championships, Prograis must make a mandatory defense against third-rated Jose Ramirez (27-1, 17 KOs) in 2023.
The Prograis-Ramirez winner would then be obligated to make a title defense against Lopez, 25, or Martin, 29.
Barcelona’s Martin replaced Puerto Rico’s Jose Pedraza (29-4-1, 14 KOs) as Lopez’s opponent 3½ weeks ago because Pedraza contracted an undisclosed illness during training camp.
Lopez-Martin will headline ESPN’s four-bout broadcast Saturday night. The official weights for the televised and non-televised bouts on the undercard are listed below.
ESPN; ESPN Deportes; ESPN+
9 p.m. ET; 6 p.m. PT
Jared Anderson (12-0, 12 KOs), Toledo, Ohio, 239 pounds vs. Jerry Forrest (26-5-2, 20 KOs), Newport News, Virginia, 228.2 pounds, 10 rounds, heavyweights.
Xander Zayas (14-0, 10 KOs), San Juan, Puerto Rico, 153 pounds vs. Alexis Salazar (24-4, 9 KOs), Norwalk, California, 153.8 pounds, 8 rounds, junior middleweights.
Keyshawn Davis (6-0, 5 KOs), Norfolk, Virginia, 134.8 pounds vs. Juan Carlos Burgos (35-6-3, 21 KOs), Tijuana, Mexico, 134 pounds, 8 rounds, lightweights.
7 p.m. ET; 4 p.m. PT
Joe Ward (7-1, 4 KOs), Moate, Ireland, 174.4 pounds vs. Frederic Julan (12-1, 10 KOs), Paris, France, 175.8 pounds, 8 rounds, light heavyweights.
Damian Knyba (9-0, 5 KOs), Wudzyn, Poland, 245.8 pounds vs. Emilio Salas (7-3-1, 3 KOs), Yonkers, New York, 217 pounds, 6 rounds, heavyweights.
Jahi Tucker (9-0, 5 KOs), Deer Park, New York, 151.2 pounds vs. Ivan Pandzic (14-2-1, 8 KOs), Rancho Cucamonga, California, 145.8 pounds, 8 rounds, junior middleweights.
Delante Johnson (6-0, 4 KOs), Cleveland, 141 pounds vs. Mike Ohan Jr. (16-1, 9 KOs), Holbrook, Massachusetts, 141.6 pounds, 8 rounds, welterweights.
EDITOR’S NOTE: An 8-round featherweight bout between Brooklyn’s Bruce Carrington (5-0, 3 KOs) and Juan Tapia (12-4, 4 KOs), of Brownsville, Texas, was canceled Friday because the New York State Athletic Commission wouldn’t allow Tapia to weigh in for undisclosed reasons.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.