As an amateur, Juan Carlos Payano won a gold medal at the 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games at flyweight. He also won silver medals at the 2003 and 2007 Pan American Games in the division. But, Payano moved up to bantamweight by the time he made his professional debut in August 2010.
On Sept. 26, 2014, Payano won the WBA (Super) Bantamweight Championship with a technical decision win over Anselmo Moreno. Then, in August 2015, he defeated Rau’shee Warren to retain his title and win the then-vacant IBO Bantamweight Championship. He lost the titles to Warren in their June 2016 re-match.