SAN ANTONIO – Frank Sanchez appreciates the platform on which he’ll perform Saturday night.

Canelo Alvarez’s stablemate will meet Mexico’s Julian Fernandez in the co-featured fight immediately before Alvarez challenges Callum Smith for the unbeaten Brit’s WBA “super” 168-pound crown and the vacant WBC super middleweight title at Alamodome. For the thankful Sanchez, this 10-round heavyweight bout represents a chance to impressively close out what was a productive 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cuban contender was aggressive and entertaining in his most recent action – a fourth-round stoppage of Brian Howard in a fight FOX aired November 7 from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Sanchez (16-0, 12 KOs) floored Howard (15-4, 12 KOs) once in the third round and twice during the fourth round, when referee Jerry Cantu stopped their scheduled 10-round bout.

Sanchez is intent on producing a comparable win against Tijuana’s Fernandez (14-2, 11 KOs).

“I want fans to get excited about my fights and enjoy my fights,” Sanchez told BoxingScene.com through a translator. “It’s very important for me shine in this fight. It’s such a big stage, and I just wanna give everyone the same kind of performance and have them talking about me after this fight as well. I’m looking forward to putting on a similar performance.”

Sanchez, like Alvarez, is trained by Eddy Reynoso, the Boxing Writers Association of America’s “Trainer of the Year” for 2019.

The 27-year-old Fernandez has been knocked out twice in four years as a pro.

Germany’s Tom Schwarz (26-1, 18 KOs) knocked him out in the second round of their September 2018 bout in Magdeburg, Germany. Fernandez subsequently won three fights in a row, but Russia’s Arslanbek Makhmudov (11-0, 11 KOs) then stopped him in the third round of their September 2019 bout in Montreal.

Fernandez will fight for the first time since Makhmudov defeated him 14 months ago.

“I don’t see anything there that’s gonna impede me from looking good,” Sanchez said in reference to Fernandez.

The Sanchez-Fernandez fight will be the last of seven bouts on the Alvarez-Smith undercard.

DAZN’s live coverage of the eight-bout card is set to begin at 7 p.m. EST and 4 p.m. PST. The final four fights of the card can be purchased through traditional pay-per-view providers as well, for $69.99, which includes a four-month subscription to DAZN (January through April). 

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.