Frank Sanchez is high on stablemate and sparring partner Canelo Alvarez’s future beyond the super middleweight division.
The undefeated Cuban heavyweight contender trains alongside Alvarez in San Diego under the tutelage of touted coach Eddy Reynoso.
The 29-year-old Sanchez (19-0, 13 KOs) often squabbles with Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) to give him appropriate preparation, as the pound-for-pound Mexican star lately has had a penchant for taking on bigger fighters.
In fact, the four-division champion and undisputed king at 168 wants to next climb two divisions and take on WBC cruiserweight champion Ilunga Makabu.
Sanchez said that Alvarez’s conquests don’t necessarily have to stop at cruiserweight.
"Look, I've sparred with Canelo. I can tell you with the utmost confidence that Canelo has heavyweight power. He can handle cruiserweight, and in my opinion, he could be a heavyweight champion if he put his mind to it,” Sanchez told DAZN.
"Canelo is an absolute stud. He's very serious and very respectful both with me and his work ethic. The biggest lesson that I learned from him is the fact that it doesn't matter whether you're training or you're inside the ring, that you got to be serious about your craft, that you got to follow it with passion. That's the main thing that I took away from being around Canelo, someone that I appreciate a lot."
Sanchez is preparing for a Saturday slugfest with late replacement opponent Christian Hammer as the co-feature for a FOX PPV headlined by Luis Ortiz and Charles Martin. Sanchez was originally supposed to take on Carlos Negron (25-3, 20 KOs), but the Puerto Rican had to pull out of the bout due to contracting COVID-19.
Instead, Sanchez will now be tested by the game German veteran Hammer (26-8, 16 KOs). The 34-year-old is 4-4 in the last eight fights dating back to 2017, with losses to the likes of Alexander Povetkin, Luis Ortiz, Tony Yoka, and Hughie Fury.
Sanchez will have to pound the proverbial nail into Hammer to catapult himself to a heavyweight world title shot as well.
If you ask Sanchez, who’s ranked No. 5 by the WBO and WBC and is fresh off a decisive win against Efe Ajagba in October, he’s ready for his breakthrough moment.
"I don't see why it can't happen next year," Sanchez said. "I know that I have made that leap, that quality leap into the elite level of heavyweight fighters. I'm ready to face absolutely anybody. And I think that the world title shot should be able to come sometime during 2022."
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.