The expectation is always to win for Frank Sanchez. (photo by Ryan Hafey)

To do so in the presence of the sport’s current best fighter in the world, is what made this one even more special.

Sanchez moved to 20-0 (13KOs) following a ten-round shutout of late replacement Christian Hammer in their Fox Sports Pay-Per-View clash Saturday evening at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Among those in attendance was Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (57-1-2, 39KOs), the undisputed super middleweight champion and pound-for-pound king who flew in for no other reason than to support his gym stablemate.

“To see Canelo there, supporting me like he was definitely motivated me even more,” Sanchez confessed after the win. “He always supports me and everyone that’s with him in his gym. It makes me want to keep improving.”

Alvarez enjoyed the view for the most part, perched at ringside in black silk Dolce & Gabanna pajamas as he shouted instructions in the direction of Sanchez, a Cuban southpaw based in nearby Miami. It at least provided a nice distraction for the otherwise slow-paced affair, with Hammer fighting to survive in accepting the assignment on short notice in place of Puerto Rico’s Carlos Negron who tested positive for Covid.

The win came three months after a far more impressive showing by Sanchez, dropping and outpointing Efe Ajagba in their ten-round battle of unbeaten heavyweight prospects last October 9 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Saturday’s win won’t go in the time capsule, though the 29-year-old rising prospect walks away with the memory of Alvarez taking the time to fly in for his fight which was his first in his adopted hometown.

“I feel very happy,” said Sanchez. “Starting out the year like this with another win in front of all the Cuban fans here in Miami is amazing.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox