Canelo Alvarez meets WBA super middleweight titlist Callum Smith in the main event of Saturday’s DAZN card at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) hasn’t fought since an 11th-round TKO victory over Sergey Kovalev in November 2019. This is his first fight since he became a free agent in November, after severing ties with longtime promoter Golden Boy Promotions.
Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) won the title by defeating George Groves in the World Boxing Super Series final in September 2018. He has defended the belt twice since then.
In the co-main event, top heavyweight prospect Frank Sanchez (16-0, 12 KOs) takes on Julian Fernandez (14-2, 11 KOs) in a 10-round battle. Sanchez stepped up in competition this year and dominated Joey Dawejko in a one-sided unanimous decision in March, before stopping Brian Howard in the fourth round on Nov. 7.
Also on the card, Christian Alan Gomez Duran (18-2-1, 16 KOs) faces journeyman Angel Hernandez (17-15-2, 11 KOs) in an eight-round welterweight bout, and Raymond Ford (7-0, 3 KOs) takes on Juan Antonio Lopez (15-7, 6 KOs) in a six-round junior lightweight fight.
Follow live for undercard results and analysis.
Fight in progress: Marc Castro vs. Luis Javier Valdes, 4 rounds, junior lightweights
Sanchez scores impressive KO of Fernandez
Cuban heavyweight contender Frank Sanchez (17-0, 12 KOS) delivered two vicious right hooks knocking Julian Fernandez (14-3, 11 KOs) through the ropes for a seventh-round knockout victory Saturday night in the Canelo Alvarez-Callum Smith undercard at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
It was an excellent knockout — a moment that many expected from Sanchez — albeit a little later than expected.
The 28-year-old started the fight strong, overwhelming Fernandez with his power. But he had some lackluster rounds that allowed an overmatched opponent to stay in the mix even when Sanchez kept him on the ropes for 11% of the fight per CompuTrack. Ultimately Sanchez’s power was simply too much.
Sanchez, who regularly works with Alvarez and Andy Ruiz Jr. alongside trainer Eddy Reynoso, is knocking on the door to earn bouts with top-10 heavyweight contenders. Sanchez’s power is his calling card and he flashed it accurately Saturday landing 48.5% of his power shots. However, as he moves forward, he will need more than just power to stack up against better fighters.
An improvement in aggression and technique may be necessary, but regardless it was another step forward for Sanchez as he scored what might end up being the knockout of the night.
Ford dominates, stops Lopez in Round 7
Speedy junior lightweight prospect Raymond “Savage” Ford (8-0, 4 KOs) outclassed Juan Antonio Lopez (15-8, 6 KOs) and used a quick right hook to score a seventh-round knockout. The punch dropped Lopez to a knee and he didn’t make the 10-count.
Ford controlled much of the fight, which included a first-round knockdown, but he did receive a test from Lopez, who showed some fight in offering tough resistance in the middle rounds. But in the seventh round, it looked like Lopez had no fight left after Ford’s go-to right hook landed for the final time.
Ford, a southpaw from Camden, New Jersey, is just 21 years old and already has been a sparring partner for Shakur Stevenson, Jaron Ennis and Tevin Farmer. Saturday, he consistently showed the speed that has people believing in his upside while receiving a nice developmental test from a game Lopez.
Williams demolishes Jones
Exciting middleweight prospect Austin “Ammo” Williams (7-0, 6 KOs) started the night off with a dominant first-round TKO victory over Isiah Jones (9-4, 3 KOs) in a bout that lasted just 91 seconds.
Williams shocked Jones with a vicious left hook that had him badly hurt, then Williams jumped on Jones with relentless pressure to the body before the referee wisely stopped the bout. Jones had never been stopped before, but Williams’ quick and powerful hands were clearly too much for him.
Williams was a sparring partner for Callum Smith leading up to Saturday night’s fight against Canelo Alvarez. This was a big stage for the 24-year-old southpaw from Houston who jumped into his boxing career late and is hoping to take a step up in competition in 2021.
Still to come:
Title fight: Canelo Alvarez vs. Callum Smith, 12 rounds, for Smith’s WBA “super” super middleweight title and Alvarez’s WBA “regular” super middleweight title and the vacant WBC super middleweight title