By Francisco Salazar
Max Ornelas and Juan Antonio Lopez fight under the same promotional banner and acknowledge one another outside the ring. It will be a different tune when the two bantamweights step inside the ring.
Ornelas and Lopez will battle it out tonight at the Cox Pavilion on the campus of UNLV in Las Vegas, Nevada. The eight round bout will headline a three-bout beIN Sports telecast (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT).
Tonight will mark Ornelas’ sixth time fighting in his hometown.
The 19-year-old Ornelas (10-0-1, 4 knockouts) will have a partisan crowd in attendance tonight as he resides in Las Vegas. He is also a student at UNLV, where he is a criminal justice major.
In his last bout on Nov. 17 in Sloan, Iowa, Ornelas won a one-sided decision over former fringe contender Nick Otieno. In his previous bout on July 15, Ornelas stopped previously-unbeaten Leopoldo Martinez.
Lopez (12-3, 4 KOs) also fought on the July 15 card, losing to former world titleholder Rico Ramos by unanimous decision over 10 rounds. The 24-year-old from Dallas, Texas has lost three of his last five bouts.
Both Ornelas and Lopez are both promoted by Roy Jones Jr.
Unbeaten welterweight Jimmy Williams (14-0-1 1 NC, 5 KOs) of New Haven, Connecticut will square off against Marquis Taylor (8-1 1 NC) in an eight round bout.
Rounding out the beIN Sports telecast will be a six round middleweight bout between Shady Gamhour (6-0, 5 KOs) and Erasmo Garcia (5-2-2, 3 KOs).
In preliminary action:
- Fringe junior middleweight contender Tommy Browne (36-7-2, 13 KOs) will face Carlos Garcia (15-17-1, 12 KOs) in an eight round bout.
- Junior lightweight prospect Gabriel Flores, Jr. (6-0, 5 KOs), who is a senior at Cesar Chavez High School in Stockton, California, squares off against Alejandro Rochin (5-1, 3 KOs) in a six round bout
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing