Padilla turned pro in 1985 and retired shortly thereafter in 1986 after a TKO loss to Dwayne Prim.
In 1991, he returned to boxing and went on a nine fight winning streak, which included victories over future champion James Page and former champion Roger Mayweather, before challenging for a world title. In 1993, he captured the WBO Light Welterweight Title in an upset unanimous decision victory over undefeated Carlos Gonzalez. Later that year, he was named the Ring magazine comeback fighter of the year. Padilla successfully defended his title four times with victories over Efrem Calamati (35-0-1), Ray Oliveira, Harold Miller, and former champion Juan Laporte. His fight with Olivera in 1993 once held the Compubox record for the most punches thrown in a fight at 3,020.
During a sparring session with Shane Mosley, Padilla was hit with a hard punch which aggravated a head injury from his last fight. Padilla's boxing license was then suspended indefinitely, and he never fought again. He had a career record of 24-1-1 with 14 KO's.
| WBO Light Welterweight Champion
07 Jun 1993– 24 Jul 1994 2004