Any time middleweight Enrique Ornelas steps in the ring someone is going to be hitting the deck or counting sheep.
He’s like a human torch ready to light a powder keg.
NABF titleholder Ornelas defends against Arizona’s Norberto Bravo (25-14-3, 14 KOs) at the Morongo Casino Resort and Spa on Friday Feb. 22. The fight card is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Tecate and begins early at 4:30 p.m.
Like so many other middleweights Ornelas can really crack. At more than six feet in height the La Habra, California resident is often asked to provide sparring with some of the best prizefighters in the world.
Bernard Hopkins, Oscar De La Hoya, Mikkel Kessler and Julio Gonzalez are a few of the pugilists he’s fired blows against.
“You can only benefit and gain experience from sparring people like that,” said Ornelas (26-4, 16 KOs).
Other fighters prefer to spar Ornelas because of his sturdiness and fearlessness.
“I like to spar with Enrique cause I can let my shots go,” said Mosley who worked with Ornelas while preparing for Miguel Cotto last November. “I don’t have to take it easy on him.”
For several years it looked like Ornelas was headed for notoriety as mere sparring material but he kept his hopes up.
“I sparred with De La Hoya up in Big Bear when he was going to fight Fernando Vargas,” said Ornelas (26-4, 16 KOs) of the fight that took place in 2002.
When his first opportunity finally arrived he looked headed for stardom when he battered Christian Cruz for six rounds in the main event at the now defunct Olympic Auditorium in 2004. It seemed like another victory for Ornelas when suddenly, while attempting to nail down a knockout, Cruz countered with an overhand right that wobbled Ornelas and turned the fight around. In the ninth round the fight was stopped and Ornelas was the loser.
Two fights later he was back in the loss column dropping a lackluster fight against Arizona’s Sam Reese.
For the next two years Ornelas battled his way back to respectability, then saw back-to-back losses to top tier middleweights Sam Soliman and Bronco McKart. It could have spelled doom for Ornelas.
A rematch was quickly arranged with McKart who used his skill and sneaky power to immediately knock down Ornelas. No problem, It was only a three-point setback. In rounds four and five the Mexican fighter savagely attacked McKart and cut through all of the technical superiority of his opponent with pure aggression.
Ornelas is finally back.
“My plan was to knock him out. Even if I have to get knocked down four times I was going to knock him out,” Ornelas, 27, said of the fight that took place on Dec. 7 and resulted in a fifth round technical knockout victory when McKart could not continue. “He told me after the fight I deserved the win.”
Facing Ornelas is Arizona’s Bravo, an appropriate name for his fighting style and willingness to take a shot to give his own. Once a junior welterweight, he now fights at middleweight and can provide a sturdy test. He spent 10 rounds slugging it out with Yory Boy Campas so Bravo’s no shrinking violent.
It should be explosive while it lasts.
In the semi-main event Nestor Rocha (18-1, 6 KOs) of Montebello meets Puerto Rico’s hard-hitting Javier Cintron (14-9-2, 10 KOs) in a bantamweight match. Also scheduled is Scotland’s middleweight prospect Craig McEwan (9-0) who trains out of the Wild Card Boxing gym in Hollywood.
For tickets and information call (951) 755-5391.
Ontario fight card
Riverside’s Josesito Lopez suffered an injury and has been replaced by Tijuana’s Pavel Miranda (14-1, 8 KOs) who is meeting Panama’s William Gonzalez (21-3-1, 6 KOs) in a junior welterweight contest for the vacant WBC Youth title at the Ontario Doubletree Hotel on Friday Feb. 22.
Miranda, who stands five feet 11 inches in height, has only fought one time outside of Mexico and that came last September when he knocked out Francisco Gil in the third round at Las Vegas.
“I accept any challenge that comes,” said Miranda, 20. “I fight for a living and I want to keep my record intact.”
He was recently signed by Thompson Boxing Promotions who have a number of other good prospects from the Inland area such as Lopez, Timothy Ray Bradley, and Yohnny Perez of Colombia.
Also on the fight card will be Jon Jon Velardez returning to California.
Velardez is one of the fighting Velardez brothers who include Bobby Boy, Armando Jr., Alex and Chris who all grew up in San Bernardino but now live in Texas.
This Velardez is the youngest and fights as a flyweight.
“He’s a little killer,” said Brad Goodman, a matchmaker for Top Rank who helped guide Bobby Boy Velardez all the way to a world title match against Erik Morales several years ago.
Velardez (5-0, 4 KOs) will face Daniel Quevedo (6-7-2, 5 KOs) in a six round flyweight bout. Both fighters can punch despite their 112-pound weight.
Lopez suffered a sprain to his hand during sparring and was ordered by the doctor to refrain from use. No date has been set for his next fight.
For tickets and information call (714) 935-0900. The first fight begins at 7:30 p.m.
Maywood fight card
Hot featherweight prospect Charles Huerta leads a fight card at the Maywood Activity Center in Maywood, California.
Huerta, a Paramount resident, is a tall hard-hitting 126-pounder with speed who’s sparred with numerous bantamweight and featherweight champions like Martin Castillo and Israel Vazquez. Many Southern California boxing experts consider him one of the top young fighters. His style is more suited for professional prizefighting than amateur boxing and he’s trained by his father.
Others on the fight card are Efrain Esquivias, Daniel “El Travieso” Hernandez and David Gaspar.
Maywood has been the site of numerous fight cards in the past seven years and includes some world champions who participated there early in their career like current WBO junior featherweight titleholder Daniel Ponce De Leon of Mexico and WBA junior lightweight titleholder Edwin Valero of Venezuela.
For tickets and information call (562) 622-3638.
Fights on television
Fri. ESPN, 6 p.m., Richard Gutierrez (23-1) vs. Miguel Vazquez (20-1).
Fri. Telefutura, 8 p.m., Enrique Ornelas (26-4) vs. Norberto Bravo (25-14-3).
Sat. HBO, 6:30 p.m., Wladimir Klitschko (49-3) vs. Sultan Ibragimov (21-0-1); plus replay of Kelly Pavlik (33-0) vs. Jermain Taylor (27-2-1).