Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Max Ornelas: I'll Do Whatever it Takes To Be a World Champion

By Thomas Gerbasi

All it takes is a couple minutes on the phone with Max Ornelas to know that the unbeaten bantamweight is a fighter who prefers to let his fists do the talking. Regardless, I ask him if he tries to stay under the radar during his classes at UNLV while getting ready for his Friday bout against Tony Lopez, which takes place on campus at Cox Pavilion.

“I try to keep a low profile, but there’s a billboard on the freeway,” he laughs. “I’ll get Facebook messages from my friends, saying, ‘Hey, we saw you on the freeway.’”

Yeah, can’t hide too much when your face is on the freeway. But don’t take Ornelas’ low-key attitude and turn it into something negative. He’s all-in on his fight career, and impressively, he’s doing it as a college sophomore studying Criminal Justice at the same time.

“I try to keep a schedule,” he said of the juggling act he’s pulling off these days. “If I have a class, I’ll do that, and then after that, if I have a workout I’ll do that. But then at night, I’ll make sure to make time to study or do homework from that class.”

max-ornelas_1

It’s an interesting place for the 19-year-old to be in, because despite being just 10-0-1 as a pro, he’s got the number 15 spot in the WBA rankings at 115 pounds, and he’ll be fighting for the NABA bantamweight belt this week. In other words, the time may be coming sooner than later when something will have to give between boxing and books.

“I’m gonna work hard to become world champion and if I get there and I still haven’t graduated yet, I’ll still have a class or two in there,” he said. “I promised my mom I’d graduate from college, so whether I become world champion or not, I’m gonna graduate.”

And you don’t want to mess with a promise to your mother. Of course, if past history is an indication, if anyone can pull off school and a world title reign, it’s probably Ornelas, who may be the only person in history to be cutting weight the day of his high school graduation.

“I graduated high school on June 9 (2016), weighed in that day, fought the next night and turned 18 the day after,” he laughs, recalling what may ultimately be the craziest weekend of his life.

“Graduation was at three, and the whole morning I was there trying to make the weight at the house. Then I went to graduation all dehydrated. It ended at like 4:15 and the weigh-ins were at five, so we had to speed down the freeway just to get there on time.”

He made weight, knocked out Robert Ledesma in a little over two minutes, then finally had a birthday / graduation celebration. Welcome to boxing.

“Ever since I started this sport, I always wanted to be world champion,” said Ornelas, who has been boxing since he was seven years old. “I don’t really care if there’s something in the way. I’ll do whatever it takes for me to get there.”

He’ll have a little help, as he’s working with the promotional company of future Hall of Famer Roy Jones Jr. It’s almost full circle for the teenager, who used to watch highlight clips of Jones when he was an amateur.

“It’s really cool (working with Jones), because back when I was an amateur, before we’d fight, there was a video on YouTube and it had his highlights and his song, ‘Can’t be touched.’ So every time before a fight I would watch that video. It’s awesome to have him behind me and supporting me. It’s a great feeling.”

Given his talent and determination, there will likely be more big nights for the Las Vegan, but he’s still taking it a step at a time, willing to be patient, but also not shy about taking a big step up if the opportunity presents itself.

“I think I have some time, especially with my age,” Ornelas said. “I turned pro at 17, and now I’m 19, so I don’t think there’s a rush. But the WBA has me ranked at number 15 in the world, so I’m almost there. At the same time, I don’t want to rush things, and my coach and promoter know that, but if the opportunity presents itself and the world title is there, I think we’ll take it.”

For now, though, he’ll be bringing that billboard to life on Friday night, and the quiet kid is not afraid about getting loud in the ring.

“Some people say it’s too much pressure, especially being in your hometown and stuff, but I like it,” he said. “When I walk out and feel the energy from everybody screaming my name and cheering, I like it, so I’m very excited for this.”

Tags: Max Ornelas image   Tony Lopez image  
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Post a Comment - View More User Comments (0)
Top Headlines Frank Warren Breaks Down Anthony Joshua-Alexander Povetkin Takam: If Povetkin Starts Slow, He'll Get Slaughtered By Joshua Ryan Garcia: Canelo Beats Golovkin Even Easier in Third Fight Daily Bread Mailbag: Canelo-GGG, Mayweather, Munguia, More Luke Campbell Very Confident as He Enters Mendy Rematch Bellew: Povetkin Should Be Banned, Not Getting Joshua Shot Wilder, Fury Promises Explosive Drama When They Collide Ivan Baranchyk vs. Anthony Yigit Added To Prograis-Flanagan Jermell Charlo Raises Hand To Face Floyd Mayweather in Return Jon Fernandez: We Just Had a Bad Game Plan For This Fight Canelo-GGG, Mayweather-Pacquiao - A Gem & a Pending Sham Foster Out-Boxes, Upsets Jon Fernandez in ShoBox Main Event Irvin Gonzalez Busier, Easily Beats Carlos Ramos Canelo Vows Quick Return: I Want To Fight in December Steven Ortiz Edges Wesley Ferrer By Majority Decision Misael Lopez Beats James Wilkins By Unanimous Decision Joshua: I'm The Best in The Division, No Doubt, It's Been Proven! Povetkin: I'm as Strong as Joshua, I Was Weaker With Klitschko Wilder, Fury Sign Contracts - Tour Begins on October 1 in London Luis Nery vs. Jason Conoy For WBC Silver, on October 6 Wilder-Fury Announcement Next Week; Likely 12/1, Staples Center Photos: Jayson Velez, Orlando Cruz - Ready For Puerto Rico Battle Joshua's Coach: Povetkin is Not Parker or Takam - He's Top Level Dutchover: Aguilar Won't Stop Me From Reaching Title Goal Sanchez: Golovkin a Little Angry Vegas Favors The House Fighter Povetkin: I Will Give Everything, It's One of My Last Big Chances Whyte: If Chisora Fights Me, It Will Be His Last Fight Photos: Yuriorkis Gamboa, Juanma Lopez - Square Up at Presser Photos: Campbell vs. Mendy, Okolie vs. Askin - Ready For Battle Photos: David Price, Sergey Kuzmin - Vow Fireworks at Wembley Photos: Anthony Joshua, Alexander Povetkin - Ready For War Munguia Satisfied With Adjustments, Saw Canelo as Big Winner Badou Jack: Stevenson on different level than guys Gvozdyk beat Joshua Out-Weighs Povetkin By Almost 25 Pounds In London Hopkins: Canelo Flipped Script On Golovkin, Walked Him Down David Price: Beating Sergey Kuzmin Can Be Life-Changing Joshua vs. Povetkin: Chris Kongo, John Docherty Added James Wilkins' Big Moment Has Arrived in ShoBox Debut Amir Khan Tells Anthony Joshua To Head To America For Legacy Malignaggi: Fans Won't Watch Mayweather-Pacquiao 2? Bullsh*t!
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement