WBA Bantamweight Champion for 2 years from April 1984–March 1986, silver medalist at the 1979 Pan American Games.
He won the National Golden Gloves competition twice as an amateur.
He had life-saving brain surgery after collapsing into unconsciousness during his fight with Gaby Canizales in 1986.
His older brother is renowned Bantamweight fighter Alberto Sandoval.
He and Shane Mosely are both from Pomona, California, considered a hotbed for budding boxing talent.