SANTA YNEZ – ‘Sugar’ Cain Sandoval is now a prospect to keep an eye on after a solid victory over former US Olympian Javier Molina

Sandoval, a 21-year-old junior welterweight from Sacramento, California, with a record of 12-0, 11 KOs, was taken the distance for the first time as a pro by the 2008 Beijing Olympian Molina (22-6, 9 KOs), of Norwalk, California, who refused to be stopped.

The fight was tempered. There had been some trash-talking in the build up, but the first round was respectful as they felt each other out. Sandoval dictated the terms of the fight as he pressed forward with educated pressure and, by the third round, Molina was starting to linger on the ropes too long. That became a theme of the fight. 

Sandoval was looking to have a virtuoso performance, like many of the good fighters have on a special night, and he had his way with the crafty veteran as he sent frantic flurries to Molina’s body. 

Then, the sixth-round came and the bout transitioned into a dog fight. Sandoval started to develop a small hematoma under his right eye. Molina, 34-years-old, at times was no longer just being walked back. 

Molina seemed to lose every round but was not being dominated. The bout was competitive, although the young Sandoval was able to throw more punches, outwork and outmuscle the smaller man. Molina had some damage on his face, but it wasn’t telling and Sandoval’s desire spoke more than any punch he threw. 

Sandoval simply wanted this fight. He wanted to prove himself, and no veteran tactics could deter him.

It was a classic story told over and over; the young fighter beating the old veteran. Molina had never been stopped, and refused to be on this night. Despite Sandoval fighting with every ounce of energy, Molina was able to go the full 10-rounds. 

The judges saw the bout 100-90 on all three cards. 

“I felt good, I appreciate him taking the fight since a lot of people don’t want to fight me,” said Sandoval afterwards. “[Molina] brought experience… I believed in my training and I thought I could stop him, but it is all good.

“I am a young veteran in this game.”

Flyweight Daniel Barrera (5-0-1, 4 KOs) of Riverside, California picked up a second-round knockout over Jonathan Almacen (7-10-3, 2 KOs) of Manila, Philippines. A punishing right-hand sent Almacen to the canvas in round two and Barrera continued with a spirited body attack. Barrera, nicknamed ‘Chucky’, a play on character for the movie Child’s Play, sent his opponent to the canvas again and the fight was over. A huge cheer erupted for him upon his victory. Barrera had a lot of support in the building. 

The time of the stoppage was 2:35.

Super welterweight Jorge Maravillo (9-0, 8 KOs) of nearby Salinas, California won a six-round unanimous decision over Jesus Gonzalez (7-2-1, 2 KOs) of Santa Ana, California. Maravillo landed a right-hand that impacted Gonzalez in the first round. Maravillo continued to score with chopping right hands but slowed as Gonzalez began to have some successful mid rounds with the fight being contested in close quarters. Gonzalez came on strong as Maravillo slowly found himself waiting and looking to counter. 

Maravillo’s trainer, Max Garcia, implored his fighter to throw more and he did at the end of the fifth round, when Gonzalez appeared dazed on the ropes with the bell ringing in the nick of time. 

The judges saw the bout 60-54 on all three scorecards. 

This was Maravillo’s first time going to a decision in his career. 

A super bantamweight bout saw undefeated Alfredo Castro (10-0, 7 KOs) of Sinaloa, Mexico win a six-round unanimous decision over local favorite Ezequiel Flores (4-3, 3 KOs). Castro caught and dropped Flores with a right hand, timed perfectly, when Flores came in aggressively looking to force the fight in the second round. 

Castro’s work seemed more consequential and, impressively, Flores had his best rounds later in the fight.

The bout was fought in spurts, but still entertaining. 

Flores was an eager warrior, unwilling to go away, throwing big shots late in the fight. When you wanted to count him out, he thudded home something heavy, and so would Castro. Flores landed clean to the head, Castro would land to the body. In the fifth round, Castro dramatically tired. Flores’s toughness will never be questioned. He even rocked Castro in the final minute of the fight to a loud cheering section that had driven to support him. A frantic and unhinged fight had a fitting end as Flores hit the canvas in the final seconds. He got up, but it summed up the brutal nature of the bout.

The judges saw it 57-55, 58-55, and 58-54.

The TV opener saw decorated Cuban amateur Osvel Caballero (5-0, 4 KOs) of Mayabeque, Cuba, cornered by Manny Robles, stop veteran Jason Buenaobra (10-10-3, 4 KOs) of Manilla, Philippines in the fourth round. Caballero boxed well, using feints, and he moved into a body attack. He jarred Buenaobra back with a right hand to the belly in the first-round and a subtle body attack led to the stoppage at 2:22.