A look behind the photographers’ table as super-featherweights Kevin Montano, who trains in Sacramento, and Kevin Perez battled in the second bout of the night. (Photos by Steve Martarano)

A Knockout Night

After hiatus, pro boxing returns to Cache Creek Casino

Back Web Only Nov 18, 2022 By Steve Martarano

While the demise of professional boxing has been reportedly imminent for decades, it thrived on a recent Saturday night at the Cache Creek Casino and Resort in Yolo County’s Capay Valley. Cache Creek, which seems to rise out of nowhere along Highway 16 in Brooks, continues to be one of the consistent locations one can still find the sport at a professional level in the Capital Region.

A tradition at boxing matches dating back to the 1960s, the “ring girl” displays the upcoming round as the fighters recharge between rounds.

Held in the resort’s new multi-purpose South Tower events center, the Oct. 29 Showdown at Cache Creek had the distinct Las Vegas buzz of classic fight nights of lore. Hotel rooms at the resort went for $800 or more a night during the event. Outside the hall were the ringing sounds of slot machines. Inside, local celebrities from the boxing world such as Tony “The Tiger” Lopez and famed publicist Bill Caplan mingled with fans there to watch a top slate of boxers, highlighted by a main event featuring two promising fighters vying for a welterweight title.

First opened in 2004 by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, Cache Creek Casino and Resort recently underwent a $200 million expansion with the construction of the South Tower building and events center.

First opened in 2004 by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, Cache Creek recently underwent a $200 million expansion with the construction of the South Tower building and events center. The expansion broke ground in May 2017 and was completed in 2021, adding a second outdoor resort pool, restaurants and 459 rooms to the resort, bringing the room total to 659. 

Heavyweights Roberto Silva of Texas and Sacramento’s Blake McKernan pose at the pre-fight weigh-in on Oct. 28 as promoter Paco Damian observes. Both boxers weighed in at 196 pounds.

Producing the near sold-out card in the 1,300-capacity events center was Woodland-based promotor Paco Damian, whose company Paco Presents and Don Chargin Productions has almost single-handedly kept professional boxing alive in Northern California. Chargin died in 2018, but Damian keeps the legendary promoter in the company name as a tribute to his former mentor and partner.

Workers construct the boxing ring at the Cache Creek Casino’s events center on the day before the scheduled bouts.

Damian has been busy promoting shows in other parts of the country through the Showtime network ShoBox series, but Oct. 29 was his first boxing card in Northern California since the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shutdown. Prior to 2020, he held several shows in Cache Creek Casino’s smaller Club 88 venue (capacity 700).

Noted boxing publicist Bill Caplan, who has worked with legends such as George Foreman, Muhammad Ali and Don King, at ringside with promoter and longtime colleague Paco Damian.

“It’s an amazing, great feeling to be back here in Northern California,” Damian said during the weigh-in the day before the bouts. “It brings a lot of good memories. I had a good run back in the day with Don Chargin.”

Fans had plenty to cheer about during the five-card boxing program on Oct. 29 called Showdown at Cache Creek at the casino’s new events center.

Fans who paid $49 to $125 a ticket were treated to a spirited five bouts lasting three full hours. Nine of the 10 boxers were California based, including two who train in Sacramento. There were no knockouts, so all five matches went the maximum number of rounds. In the main event, Fairfield’s Alan Sanchez, bleeding from the head and cheered on by a large number of fans from his hometown, increased his record to 23-5-1 to take the WBA Fedecentro title, upsetting unbeaten Saul Bustos of Los Angeles with a 10-round majority decision. 

Judge Kermit Bayless checks out the action ringside on Oct. 29 at the Cache Creek Casino events center.

Damian says fans can look forward to another professional card at Cache Creek in the near future, and he is currently in negotiations for an early 2023 show with plans to be televised on Showtime or ESPN.

A near sellout of 1,300 fans watch the action during the Oct. 29 Cache Creek Showdown at the casino’s new events center in Brooks.

Heavyweight Roberto Silva, of Texas, and his team heads toward the ring for his bout with Sacramento’s Blake McKerman. Silva won in a split-decision.

Sacramento’s Blake McKerman lands a left on Roberto Silva during their heavyweight bout Oct. 29 at the Cache Creek Casino events center. Silva, however, would win in a split-decision.

The referee raises Roberto Silva’s arms after he defeated Sacramento’s Blake McKerman in a split-decision on Oct. 29 at the Cache Creek Casino.

In the main event of the night, Fairfield’s Alan Sanchez takes a punch from Saul Bustos of Los Angeles during the 10-round bout. Sanchez would go on to win the 10-round majority decision.

Fairfield’s Alan Sanchez, bleeding from the head late in the 10-round bout, went on to defeat unbeaten Saul Bustos of Los Angeles in a majority decision, winning the welterweight WBA Fedecentro title Oct. 29 at the Cache Creek Casino.

After winning the welterweight WBA Fedecentro title by upsetting unbeaten Saul Bustos of Los Angeles in a 10-round majority decision, Fairfield’s Alan Sanchez is welcomed by fans while leaving the ring at Cache Creek Casino Oct. 29.

Correction Nov. 22, 2022: A previous version of this story misspelled the name of Paco Damian. 

Stay up to date on business in the Capital Region: Subscribe to the Comstock’s newsletter today.

Post new comment

99642164257047987 » If you have a visual disability, please type the numbers two one three three into the box. Your submission will be promptly reviewed by a validation service and sent to the site administrators.
By proving you are not a machine, you help us prevent spam and keep the site secure.

Recommended For You

Industrial Titan

Titan Gilroy is on a mission to eliminate offshore outsourcing and boost manufacturing back home

When Zinola Manufacturing owner Kevin Zinola took a chance and offered convicted felon Titan Gilroy an entry-level job in his small Sunnyvale machine shop, he had no idea where the relationship would go. In the years to follow, Gilroy reformed his life, worked his way up through several companies and finally, established Titan America Manufacturing.

Oct 13, 2015 Laurie Lauletta-Boshart