Teofimo Lopez apologized for a boring main event.
Lopez pulled out a split decision win against Sandor Martin in a Top Rank main event Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
The bout went all 10 rounds and was left to the judges. One judge had it 95-94 Martin while two judges had it 96-93 and 97-92 for Lopez.
Before the post interview in the ring, Lopez and Martin were trading words with one another; Lopez claimed that Martin was “running away” the whole time.
Lopez added that it’s ultimately ok that it ended in this result because now people will “want” to fight him.
“I felt great overall. I knew he was tired. He didn’t want to commit. He was staying on his back foot and just running around the whole time,” Lopez said.
“But it is what it is. This makes it look good. These guys are going to want to fight me now. More than ever. Now this is great. Now I can actually have a good fight.”
He did not attend the post fight press conference and no reason was given for why.
ESPN’s Mike Coppinger reported that Lopez told his father after the fight:
“I don’t know if I still have it. Do I still have it?”
In round 1, “Teo” chants lit up the arena and then chants for Martin tried to counter it. Lopez landed a left hand that made Martin lose balance. Martin was sent to the ropes but he quickly moved. Lopez dictated the round.
In round 2, Lopez quickly knocked down to the floor, but broke fall with gloves and got up quickly. The referee gave him a count.
Lopez tried to answer some doubt by landing quick hits, putting Martin on the ropes. Martin began to bleed from the bridge of his nose.
Lopez continued to press, trying to lead with his left hand, but it would always stop short.
In round 3, Lopez would go in and Martin would try to take advantage of it. When things began to look a bit slow for the former unified lightweight champion, “Teo” chants erupted again. A body blow pushed Martin to the ropes, but they soon returned to the middle of the ring.
In round 4, Lopez would stare down Martin before charging forward with combinations. With seconds left, Lopez hopped forward to land a straight left hand.
Martin tried to become more active in round 5, but it continued to be much of the same as Lopez would charge forward. A right hand from Lopez briefly stunned Martin.
In round 6, a left hand and then a right made Lopez briefly lose balance and stick his head out of the ropes. The crowd booed as Martin hit behind his head. Lopez would make his opponent pay for it when he cornered him and let his hands go, but the sound of the bell forced the action to stop.
Lopez went down again in round 7– and it was ruled a slip this time. Lopez seemed desperate for something while Martin seemed ready to counter.
In round 8, Lopez was throwing, but it didn’t seem to be doing much to Martin. Still, Martin wasn’t able to fully take advantage.
The two were trading shots closer to the end of round nine, briefly bringing the fight back to life. But it quickly died down. Boos eventually erupted. At the end of the round, Lopez shook his head.
In the 10th and final round, it was brought back to life when Martin was briefly caught in in the corner. Lopez let the hands go on the ropes, but in the end, no stoppage or knockout ever came.
After the final bell rang, Martin dropped to his knees in joy, thinking he had done enough to win. His reaction drew parallels to when he fought Mikey Garcia and scored a major upset.
Only this time, it did not turn out his way.