“Mano a Mano” boxing show Saturday at World Market Place in Escondido


Saturday evening, September 21st, the four gents in the center will be a part of what’s expected to be an exciting boxing card at the Escondido World Market Place. (l to r) Jarrod “Showboat” Tennant from South Central Los Angeles, Benjamin Briceno from San Leandro, CA, and Norberto Pantaleon and Jesus Lopez both from Oceanside, CA. On the far right you have the show’s promoter Ari Soltani and (far left) the matchmaker Bill Dean.

Saturday’s “Mano a Mano” boxing card at the Escondido World Market Place should be a doozie. Anytime you have so many hopefuls striking out on their professional careers, it’s unlikely anyone can give you a good read on who will win the contests. Regardless of what anyone says, every rookie has the opening bout jitters and on tomorrow’s fight card they have four boxers making their pro debut. 


Jesus Lopez versus Jarrod Tennant

Jesus Lopez (l) is scheduled to face Jarrod Tennant (r). Photo: Jim Wyatt

In Bout #1, they have middleweight, 28 year-old Jarrod “Showtime” Tennant (1-0-0) of South Central, Los Angeles who trains at the Broadway Boxing Gym under the tutelage of Papa Bear, an old school trainer who’s picky about who he trains. 

Papa Bear’s read on Tennant: “Showtime” is an all around athlete who about 6-7 years ago made the transition from basketball over to boxing. You know I wouldn’t be bothered unless he was a major talent.”

In Tennant’s first outing on July 26th of this year, he was awarded an unanimous decision victory over a 30 year-old southpaw by the name of Brandon Adams from Stockton, CA at the Thunder Valley Casino & Resort in Lincoln, CA.

Tennant will be going up against 23 year-old Jesus Lopez (2-0-0) of Tanos Boxing in Oceanside, CA. Lopez’s two unanimous decision victories came the hard way. Both were bloody, toe to toe battles fought at the Show Palace in Oceanside.

In his last fight, a June 27th meeting, Victor Medina of Los Angeles, CA caught Lopez early with a solid left on the chin. It happened before most people had even settled into their seats. Lopez then spent the rest of the fight working to make up for this early gaffe.

Johnny Rivera versus Mike Haigood

Johnny Rivera (l) versus Mike Haigood (r). Photo: Jim Wyatt

Next we have 28 year old Mike Haigood who is trained by Joe Vargas at the Undisputed Downtown San Diego gym making his pro-debut against fellow debutant 22 year old Johnny Rivera of the San Diego Combat Academy, a member of the Tiger Smalls Boxing Team.

It appears Haigood and his brother are partial to living on the coast, whether east or west. They now live in San Diego, before that they lived three years in Port Saint Lucy, Florida and before that in Rockaway, Queens, New York. Of his 10 Amateur bouts, he said he only won twice, stating  he was using each bout, not to win, but to hone his craft.

His opponent, Johnny Rivera is a southpaw with more experience and reasonably good hand speed. His Amateur record for fights mainly in San Diego and Los Angeles is 16-3. During the day, he works as a technical engineer.

Benjamin Briceno (l) versus Marion Cuen (r). Photo: Jim Wyatt

Benjamin Briceno (l) versus Marion Cuin (r). Photo: Jim Wyatt

Next, they have 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 is making his pro-debut. As an Amateur he had 25 wins and 10 losses. You could always expect to find Cuin in the finals of the local Amateur tournaments.

Alec Christenberry (l) versus Ulises Sierra (r). Photo: Jim Wyatt

Alec Christenberry (l) versus Ulises Sierra (r). Photo: Jim Wyatt

In the light heavyweight division they have Ulises Sierra (3-0-1) of the Undisputed Fitness & Training Center in Downtown San Diego taking on 20 year-old Alec Christenberry who has absolutely no USA amateur boxing experience. 

The 6’3” Christenberry works out at the UFC Gym in San Marcos, CA and lives in Foothill Ranch, CA. He’s a Mixed Martial Artist making the transition over to boxing.

When asked about his opponent, Sierra joked, “I’m not worried about this Alec Something. According to my life coach, pointing to his life partner Kim Hellmund, I’m supposed to knock him out in Round #1 to impress family and friends.”

Ms. Hellmund followed with, “You better get his autograph now, before he starts charging $100.”

The whole exercise was a put on as Sierra is one of the most humble boxers in the game. You never see him pounding his chest or hear him talk harshly about an opponent.

Ricardo Gutierrez versus Norberto Pantaleon Photo: Jim Wyatt

Ricardo Gutierrez (l) is set to face Norberto Pantaleon (r). Photo: Jim Wyatt

Finally, in a lightweight match-up (catch weight 135 lbs.) they have local favorite Ricardo Gutierrez (2-1-0, 1 KO) of San Marcos, CA taking on Norberto Pantaleon (0-1-0) of Oceanside, CA.

Back on June 27th, just minutes after finishing his first round, 38 second destruction of Pablito Pantaleon at the Show Palace in Oceanside, CA, Norberto, the older brother of Pablito, approached the Gutierrez entourage and said he’d like to avenge his brother’s loss and fight Gutierrez. Without time to collect his thoughts or savor the victory, Gutierrez accepted the older brother’s challenge. It’s not exactly the most prudent route, but Gutierrez has never been one to back down from a challenge.

After researching Norberto’s career, we discover he, like his younger brother, is winless. Back on March 6, 2009, he fought a gent by the name of Jose Gomez from Kent, Washington. In that bout, he lost by split decision.

So Norberto, who hasn’t fought in over four and a half years, seems to have taken this fight on a whim and it’s likely the rust will show.

The 30 year-old Norberto Pantaleon, who is married and has one child, told me: “I’m doing this to motivate my baby brother. I want to see him get back the hunger.”

During the '50s and '60s, the popular Escondido Drive In was the rage. When it closed in 1984, the the Escondido Swap Meet took center stage.

During the ’50s and ’60s, the popular Escondido Drive In was the rage. When it closed in 1984, the Escondido Swap Meet took center stage.

Tickets in the $30 to $50 range are still available for what promises to be a slugfest. $30 is for general admission and $50 for the VIP seating. With this particular venue, they there’s plenty of room and not a bad seat in the house. For further information or tickets in advance you can call Bill Dean at: 760-310-2621.

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