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Canelo vs Smith results and highlights: Frank Sanchez knocks Julian Fernandez out of the ring, prospects win

Frank Sanchez picked up a huge knockout to add to the highlight reel on the Canelo-Smith undercard.

Adam Kownacki v Robert Helenius Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Marc Castro KO-3 Luis Valdes

With the original Julio Cesar Martinez vs Francisco Rodriguez Jr WBC flyweight title co-feature scrapped late, Matchroom Boxing decided to make as much of a big deal as possible out of featherweight Castro’s pro debut, giving him the functional co-feature slot on a big card.

Our Canelo vs Smith live coverage continues! Click here for LIVE round-by-round of the main event!

The 21-year-old Castro (1-0, 1 KO) was a standout U.S. amateur, and the Fresno native looked good here. He was a little jumpy in the first round, but that’s not hard to imagine. He’s been meant to make his debut for months now, got scrapped twice, and finally got in on a Canelo card in the Alamodome. Once he worked out the nerves, he dropped Valdes twice and finished at 1:59 of the third round.

Frank Sanchez KO-7 Julian Fernandez

Cuban heavyweight Frank Sanchez (17-0, 13 KO) wasn’t exactly thrilling in this one, but credit to Mexico’s Fernandez (14-3, 11 KO) for fighting brave, too. Wasn’t an awful fight to watch or anything, mind you; but Sanchez was the obvious big favorite and there was a sense that it was dragging while still being a mismatch, really, and it felt like time for Sanchez to put it away.

Well, he put it away, knocking Fernandez clean out of the ring:

You can debate the potential of the 28-year-old Sanchez plenty. He’s young enough and has some talent, but he’s not the most consistent guy, and even though 6’4”, 230 with a 78-inch reach sounds big, it’s really not big for heavyweight anymore. But he’s around and looking to make his case in the division. With Team Canelo, he’s got the connections to make noise if he can make it.

Raymond Ford KO-7 Juan Antonio Lopez

This was a good test for Ford, a 21-year-old featherweight prospect who improves to 8-0 (4 KO). The southpaw from New Jersey started fast, dropping Lopez (15-8, 6 KO) late in the first round, but the 26-year-old Lopez got a bit going with his timing in the third and fourth rounds and was able to find some success landing some decent shots, enough that I thought he nicked those two rounds.

You need to see prospects overcome some adversity, be forced to adjust, etc. And that’s what Ford did here, as he had a nice fifth round and another good one in the sixth, then dropped Lopez in the seventh. Lopez took the 10 count, seemingly could have gotten up if he’d wanted to, but he was counted out. Ford is still a little raw, but the natural gifts are there — he’s quick, he’s clever, he listens to his corner, and the power seems to be coming along for him. Must be the MANSTRENGTH!!!!!!!! setting in.

Austin Williams TKO-1 Isiah Jones

Jones (9-4, 3 KO) fought three times in the MGM bubble over the summer on Top Rank cards, between June 16 and Aug. 22, and went 1-2 overall there. He’s now lost four of five.

But he was a good opponent for the 24-year-old Williams (7-0, 6 KO), the right sort of guy for “Ammo” to be facing. Jones has shown himself to be crafty and a bit of a pain for prospects. But not here. The middleweight prospect Williams staggered Jones with a clean shot to the chin and then just unleashed a shoe shine combo to the body until referee Mark Calo-oy stepped in for the stoppage in 89 seconds. Jones is no special fighter or anything, but this was impressive from Williams to end his 2020.

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