September 21, 2013
On Saturday, even with a big MMA Show, the Xplode Fight Series across town on the same night, the latest Pars Entertainment boxing show turned out to be a grand success.
Why? Because, as Amateurs, the boxers who were performing had a reputation for going toe to toe and giving the boxing fans a great show.
In Bout #1, they featured two rookies, southpaw, 22 year-old Johnny Rivera of the San Diego Combat Academy in Mission Valley trained by Tiger Smalls going up against a 28 year old, righty Mike Haigood of the Und1sputed Fitness & Training Center in San Diego's Downtown who is trained by Joe Vargas.
Despite having an opportunity to spar against Rivera, Haigood had no answer for the solid left hands that kept landing against the side of his head. Even though it was a tightly contested match, Rivera took every round on his way to an unanimous decision victory.
Bout #2 saw ex-Mixed Martial Artist Alec Christenberry who works out at the UFC Gym in San Marcos, CA and lives in Foothill Ranch, CA in his pro-debut go up against the more seasoned Ulises Sierra (3-0-1, 2 KOs) of San Diego.
In this one, Christenberry was not ready for the likes of Sierra and his boxing skills. His reckless style kept him afloat for one round but then in the second round Sierra started catching him with the solid two and three punch combinations.
The end came in the second round when Sierra had the taller Christenberry pinned against the ropes and began pounding him with more and more unanswered blows. Referee Jose Cobian finally stepped in to stop the onslaught.
In Bout #3 they featured middleweights, 23 year-old Jesus Lopez (2-0) of Tanos Boxing in Oceanside, CA going up against 28 year-old Jarrod “Showtime” Tennant (1-0) from South Central Los Angeles. With the enormous ring (there had to be a minimum of 24 feet from post to post), the frustrated Lopez spent almost the entire fight chasing after the more defensive minded Tennant.
The situation reminded you of an exasperated commuter running after a departing bus after it had just left the bus stop.
When Lopez did catch up or corner Tennant, it seemed Tennant’s accuracy and hand speed allowed him to get the best of the exchanges.
In Bout #4, they had 21 year-old, super bantamweight Benjamin Briceno (1-1-0) of San Leandro, CA taking on 19 year-old Mario Cuin of Temecula, CA who was making his pro-debut.
From the outset, these two gents banged away at each other with the only real difference being the fact Briceno would land at a higher percentage. The judges also received an assist, from the crowd noise. When Briceno did landed one of his big uppercuts or a round house right, the crowd reacted with ooh’s and aah’s.
In the final round, Cuin and Briceno layed it all out there, emptying their energy tanks until the point where their match resembled that closing scene in Rocky one. Despite their fully leveraged punches, neither could knock the other man off his feet.
Even though the decision for Briceno was never in doubt, the outcome of Round four certainly was.
Finally, in a lightweight match (catch weight 135 lbs.) they had local favorite Ricardo Gutierrez (2-1-0, 1 KO) of Escondido, CA taking on Norberto Pantaleon (0-1-0) of Oceanside, CA.
The 30 year-old Pantaleon, who hadn’t fought in over four and a half years had taken the fight to avenge his brother’s loss to Gutierrez back on June 27th, and as he told me, “To motivate my little brother. I want to see him get back the hunger.”
Well, this closer, the show’s Main Event, turned out to be the most tightly contested match of the night. The boxers took turns being the aggressor while the other waited to counter. Sometimes it’s impossible not to sound overly trite, but this match did in deed turn into a chess match which was soon confirmed when the announcer read off the scores, 38-38, 38-38, 39-37, a draw.