Frank Sanchez made sure to provide viewers with much more entertainment Saturday night than in his prior appearance on FOX.
The Cuban heavyweight contender beat Brian Howard by fourth-round technical knockout in a scheduled 10-round fight at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Sanchez dropped Howard once in the third round and twice in the fourth round on his way to improving to 16-0 and producing his 12th knockout.
Referee Jerry Cantu stopped the action 2:07 into the fourth round, with a battered, beaten Howard still standing.
The 28-year-old Sanchez was much more aggressive against the hard-hitting Howard than he was when he fought Philadelphia’s Joey Dawejko in his last bout. Sanchez easily out-pointed Dawejko, but he drew criticism for being too tactical in their 10-rounder March 7 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Howard (15-4, 12 KOs) lost by knockout for the third time as a pro.
The 39-year-old Howard hadn’t fought in 15 months before facing Sanchez. The Loganville, Georgia, resident upset Puerto Rico’s Carlos Negron (22-3, 18 KOs) by first-round knockout in his previous fight, which took place in August 2019 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
After flooring Howard late in the third round, Sanchez didn’t waste any time jumping on Howard in the fourth round. A left-right combination by Sanchez knocked Howard to the canvas for the second time in their bout 19 seconds into the fourth.
Howard got up again, but Sanchez cracked him with a left hook that knocked Howard flat on his back with 2:12 to go in the fourth. A courageous Howard reached his feet again and Cantu allowed him to continue.
Howard tried to fight back, but Sanchez remained aggressive and nailed him with a flush right hand that knocked Howard into the ropes with 54 seconds remaining in the fourth round.
Cantu quickly stepped between them to stop the bout once Howard went into the ropes after absorbing that aforementioned right hand.
Sanchez landed a stiff jab and followed up with a right to the body with just over 30 seconds left in the third round. Howard held him briefly, but Sanchez’s right uppercut wobbled Howard and another right by Sanchez sent him to the canvas with 19 seconds remaining in the third.
Howard answered Cantu’s count and made it to the end of the third round.
A left-right-left combination by Sanchez knocked Howard backward about 20 seconds into the third round.
Sanchez nailed Howard with a right hand that made Howard hold him with a little less than a minute to go in the second round.
A right hand by Howard knocked Sanchez backward about 35 seconds into the second round.
Howard landed a right hand 1:05 into the first round, but Sanchez kept coming forward. Sanchez clipped Howard with a right hand with 35 seconds to go in that opening round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.