Boxing’s Best of 2021: Sandor Martin
Sandor Martin was supposed to be another fighter opposite Mikey Garcia when the two squared off in Fresno, California. Why? Because on paper, this fight was looked at as nothing more than another stay busy for Garcia, who was eyeing a potential bigtime matchup between former super lightweight champion Regis Prograis.
After twelve rounds at Chukchansi Park in Fresno, California, on that October weekend, that fight will now be added for the foreseeable future as a “what if” as that is off the radar.
To say that Martin taking on Garcia was an afterthought to many is underselling it here. This was the closest I’ve seen for a fight put on that felt like an obligation for quite some time. The former four-weight champion Garcia spent the downtime being linked in massive battles, most notably Manny Pacquiao. Unfortunately for Garcia, that fight vanished like the reporter he told that fight proposition to. Instead, all of that never materialized and he had to settle for this stay-busy in a row he was favored to win by most sportsbooks accounts, 11 to 1 day of the battle.
It was treated like a homecoming for Garcia. The Oxnard native had roots in the area and came into the ring on a tractor with former world champion and local fighter Jose Ramirez and others. It was once the bell rung that is when the upset began.
How Did Martin Upset Garcia?
How? Simply being Garcia to the punch at every chance he got for 30 minutes. That was it. There weren’t any signature moments in this fight except that Martin was fighting the fight of his life, and Garcia had a look, feel, and movement of a fighter who hadn’t seen the ring since the pandemic outbreak broke last February against Jessie Vargas. That was all Martin needed as he won 2 out of the three scorecards, 97-93. The third card of 95-95 was turned in but let’s speak less of that here.
After the fight, Martin felt he had done enough to win the fight. This upset in terms of action holds down the silver medal as the upset of the year between George Kambosos Jr. and Teofimo Lopez. Still, I wanted to tell a different story here as the Kambosos victory tour will make its way out in 2022, pandemic permitting. Martin’s story will find out next year, but in the interim can’t be overlooked.
“I knew that I had done the job that I had to do, but I am an athlete, and I am aware of the type of fight it was. My question was whether the judges were going to value my work. I felt like a winner, but it depended on the judges, and it turned out well,” Sandor Martin said back in November, reflecting on the win.
Does Martin get Prograis next? He’d like to, but that isn’t likely on anyone’s radar, but for one night, the 11 to 1 underdog needed to be as he walked out a winner over a heralded former world champion.