TEMECULA-Experience beat power as Mexico’s Martin Honorio thoroughly befuddled power punching John Molina and handed the Covina  fighter his first career loss on Saturday.

A sold out crowd at Pechanga Resort and Casino saw Honorio (27-4-1, 14 KOs) use his long arms and long years of veteran craft to win a unanimous decision over the popular Molina (18-1, 14 KOs) to win the vacant NABO and NABF lightweight title.

It wasn’t supposed to be that way.

Known more for his pressure fighting Honorio opened up the first round with movement and counters while moving out of danger. Molina seemed to be bewildered by the movement and never could land the big blow.

Honorio proved that his years of fighting top prizefighters including a win over current WBO featherweight titleholder Steve Luevano was a major advantage in facing the sledgehammer fists of Molina.

Molina was never battered,  just out-boxed, over the 10 round lightweight fight that was supposed to be his introduction to a national audience. The fight was televised on Showtime.

The Mexican contender Honorio never allowed Molina to load up or corner him. Instead he moved when he had to move and punched when he had to punch. The judges scored it 99-91 and 98-92 twice for Honorio.

“My guy was definitely sick, he had the flu,” said Joe Goossen, who trains Molina. “I didn’t know about it.”

Honorio said moving up to the heavier 135 pound lightweight was difficult but he made the necessary adjustments.

“The weight difference was definitely a factor. It took me a few rounds then I got comfortable. I could feel his punches but he never hurt me,” said Honorio. “I would love to give him a rematch but at 130.”

Molina said the flu did hurt him a bit but gave Honorio credit for winning handily.

“Martin Honorio is a great fighter and he did well tonight,” said Molina who was disappointed by the outcome. “I couldn’t pull the trigger. I couldn’t do what I wanted to do.”

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Rico Ramos, a standout amateur, was supposed to be facing his toughest test against Northern California’s Alejandro Perez (14-2-1, 9 KOs). But the speed and accuracy of Ramos' punches overcame Perez’s relentless pressure to the body. A counter right hand in the third round floored Perez for the only knockdown.

“I had to use my movement and my jabs,” said Ramos (14-0, 8 KOs) who remains undefeated. “I expected to win every round but not by dropping him.”

Perez remained diligent in his body attack but Ramos continued to batter him with counter left uppercuts throughout the eight rounds. The judges scored it a unanimous decision for Ramos 80-71 twice and 78-73.

Sharp shooting Javier Molina (3-0, 3 KOs), a former U.S. Olympian, overwhelmed Mexico’s Miguel Garcia (0-2) with stiff jabs and combinations in a welterweight bout. Several left hooks snapped Garcia’s head back and on one occasion the tough Mexican fighter seemed to touch the mat with a glove. In the second round Molina tore through every defense Garcia offered until his corner finally tossed in the towel at 2:42 of the second round. It was Molina’s third knockout in three fights.

“I just jabbed him, I kept jabbing him and I stuck with it,” said Molina who had not fought in several months.

Charles “Killer” Whitaker (35-12-2, 23 KOs) of the Cayman Islands floored West Virginia’s Chad Greenleaf (11-14-1) three times before the fight was stopped at 2:28 of the third round. A four-punch combination floored Greenleaf, whose corner stopped the middleweight fight.

A heavyweight match between Ernest “Zeus” Mazyck (7-1) and Ethan Cox (2-6-1) ended in a majority decision win for Mazyck after four rounds. No knockdowns were scored as one judge Ray Corona  ruled it 38-38 but judges Marty Denkin and Pat Russell had it 39-37 for Zeus who landed more blows.

Rialto’s Matt Franklin (2-0) survived a first round knockdown by Ludwin Mondragon (0-3) to win the remaining three rounds and win by unanimous decision 38-37 on all three cards. A counter right hand by Mondragon in the first round landed flush but after that it was mostly Franklin’s quick counters that scored effectively in a flyweight encounter.