This Saturday provides one of those rare days for a boxing fan where they need not leave the couch. As is typical of college football Saturdays where action rolls from noon ET to around midnight, boxing fans will get the delight of seeing action from early in the morning on the East Coast to the wee hours of Sunday morning. And all with some recognizable names hitting the ring.
It all begins with Michael Conlan and Karim Guerfi meeting in a featherweight clash in the first headliner of the day, both men looking to continue to rebound from disastrous losses earlier in the year. The focus will then shift to an IBF featherweight title fight as champion Josh Warrington defends against Luis Alberto Lopez.
Then, we head to New York City for what’s become a tradition. Teofimo Lopez is back in action when he takes on Sandor Martin in the main event from Madison Square Garden, which is expected to take place at the conclusion of the Heisman Trophy ceremony. Lopez has competed in this spot multiple times since turning pro, and has donned the winner’s jersey in celebration afterward.
Plus, Terence Crawford makes his lone appearance of 2022 when he defends his WBO welterweight crown against David Avanesyan in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.
Let’s take a look at — and predict the results of — all the big fights set for Saturday along with odds from Caesars Sportsbook.
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The main events
Josh Warrington (c) -130 vs. Luis Alberto Lopez +110, IBF featherweight title — 4 p.m. ET, DAZN: The prelims for this card kick off at 8:30 a.m., so you don’t need to bother with anything but boxing from the morning hours. This is the best fight of the weekend on paper. Warrington is a solid world title-level fighter, but one who is always vulnerable to dropping a fight or just squeaking by with a win. In his most recent outing, Warrington beat Kiko Martinez to recapture the IBF title that he’d held from 2018 until vacating the belt in 2021. That fight showed a nasty streak from Warrington, who liberally used his head and shoulder to rough up Martinez en route to a seventh round stoppage.
Lopez is a solid contender who can provide any fighter in the division with trouble. While he tends to get hit often, he is awkward, slick and heavy-handed enough to throw off opponents. Warrington will be at home in front of the amazing fans in Leeds, England and that may give him the edge, but he will have to be very careful from the jump with a tricky contender in front of him. Expect a tight contest with scorecards that could be edged toward the hometown boy. Pick: Warrington via SD
Teofimo Lopez -700 vs. Sandor Martin +500, junior welterweight — 9 p.m. ET, ESPN: Lopez is still trying to build toward a championship opportunity after being upset by George Kambosos Jr. and losing his status as undisputed lightweight champion. A move to 140 pounds followed the loss, with Lopez cruising to a somewhat uninspiring TKO win over Pedro Campa in August. Lopez remains trained by his father and he still exudes tremendous confidence despite what should have been a humbling loss to Kambosos.
Martin stepped into the fight in mid-November after Jose Pedraza withdrew due to illness. Martin is a big upgrade in quality of opponent for Lopez, and one the WBC had ordered Lopez to face after Pedraza anyway. Martin has only fought in the U.S. once, upsetting Mikey Garcia in October 2021 and sending Garcia into retirement.
“I’m great with southpaws,” Lopez said in an interview with Boxing Scene. “I love southpaws. I mean, you guys have seen it with Lomachenko and you guys have seen it with Diego Magdaleno. So, with Sandor Martin, I’m looking forward to doing that and worse because you know why? This guy’s talking a lot of smack. He’s really believing his own hype. So, this is good work for us. This is great. I love guys that talk that sh*t, so we can shut ’em up. He’s saying he’s gonna whoop my ass and he’s gonna have a fun night that night, and other things on top of that. So, he’s really talking his sh*t.”
Lopez is not a blown-up fighter at 140 pounds like Garcia was when Martin defeated him. Martin is a solid European-level competitor but Lopez, when at his best, is one of the sport’s most dangerous and talented fighters. Lopez claims this is his division and a win over Martin sets him up to continue calling for fights with the top fighters in a loaded division. Pick: Lopez via TKO8
Terence Crawford (c) -1400 vs. David Avanesyan +800, WBO welterweight title — 9 p.m. ET, PPV: The story of this fight was always going to be that it’s not the fight anyone wanted. No disrespect to Avanesyan, who is a solid and talented fighter, but for months, fans were assured Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. were finalizing a deal to make one of the most anticipated fights of the modern era. Then Crawford pulled out due to issues with the negotiation and it was announced he would face Avanesyan.
“I always said I wanted to retire at 33,” Crawford said in an interview with Kate Abdo this week. “I did, I wanted to retire at 33 but here I am at 35 still going. I just love the sport. I just feel like I’m still at the top of my game and I really want that Errol Spence fight. I feel like that’s the fight that I really wanted, just to prove a point.”
Crawford is, without a doubt, one of the sport’s best fighters. He is also a fighter who has never really faced a level of competition worthy of his skills. In Avanesyan, he faces a man who has won six straight fights, all for the European welterweight title. Avanesyan has been sitting at a lower-tier of opponents since a 2016 to 2018 stretch that saw him fight Shane Mosley, Lamont Peterson and Egidijus Kavaliauskas.
Crawford finally landed a big-name fight in 2021 when he took out Shawn Porter. Now, he looks to tread water until hopefully bigger fights can materialize in 2023. At least he’s making what he claims to be a career-high purse for the fight. Pick: Crawford via TKO5