A crossroads fight between a seasoned gatekeeper eager for another run at contender status and an unbeaten fighter on the rise will take place tonight.

Alan Sanchez and Saul Bustos will square off in a 10-round bout at the Cache Creek Casino in Brooks, California. At Friday’s weigh-in, both Sanchez and Bustos weighed in at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds.

The clash between Sanchez and Bustos is evenly-matched as the winner puts himself in position for more-lucrative opportunities in a talent-rich division. Tonight also marks the first fight card at the Cache Creek Casino in over three years for promoter Paco Damian.

“We’re thrilled to be back in Northern California,” Damian told Boxingscene Friday evening. “This is a great opportunity for both fighters to be back in the mix. It’s a competitive fight and it’s difficult to predict a winner.”

“Alan has fought the better opposition. Bustos is a young kid who is trained by Freddie Roach and has gotten better because of the top sparring he has had down in Southern California. It’s an amazing opportunity for him.”

Sanchez (21-5-2, 10 KOs), who is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico and now resides in Fairfield, California, last fought on May 1 of last year, defeating fringe contender Jose Borrego by split-decision. The win over Borrego came after back-to-back knockout losses to Alexander Besputin and, most recently, Daniyar Yeleussinov.

The 31-year-old does have quality wins on his ledger, including a split-decision win over former world title challenger Pablo Cesar Cano in May 2016. Sanchez also has victories over John Karl Sosa, Ed Paredes and Miguel Angel Huerta.

Bustos (15-0-1, 8 KOs) defeated journeyman Miguel Angel Martinez by unanimous decision over eight one-sided rounds in a stay-busy fight on February 26. In September 2020, the Los Angeles resident defeated Luis Lopez by unanimous decision in a clash of unbeaten prospects. 

The 28-year-old is managed by Roger Ruiz. 

In the co-feature, cruiserweight Blake McKerman of nearby Sacramento will face Roberto Silva in an eight-round bout. 

Both McKerman (13-1, 6 KOs) and Silva weighed in at 196 pounds.

McKerman has not fought since losing to Badou Jack by decision in November 2020. Tonight will mark his fight in Northern California in over three years.

Silva (11-3, 7 KOs), who resides in League City, Texas, lost by technical split-decision to fringe contender Alfonso Lopez in his last bout on April 30. He has lost two of his last three bouts.

Featherweight Ivan Vergara (8-1, 2 KOs) of Fairfield will square off against San Diego’s Juan Pedro Miranda (6-0, 2 KOs) in a six-round bout.

Amateur standout Kevin Montano (3-0, 2 KOs) of nearby Concord will face Kevin Perez (1-0-1) of Corona, California in a four-round bout.

First bell is scheduled for 7 p.m. local time.

Damian has promoted fights in the United States, Mexico and Central America. He learned more about the boxing business from the late Don Chargin and Sampson Lewkowicz, whom he still collaborates with and co-promotes shows with.

“I learned so much from an honorable man in Don,” said Damian. “It’s a great honor to work with Sampson, who is passionate about boxing. Sampson loves the sport and wants to put on great fights.”

Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene since September 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at santio89@yahoo.com or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing