Junior lightweights Luis Melendez and Thomas Mattice stayed ready. The contenders, on less than two weeks’ notice, agreed to face off Friday, Nov. 5 in the eight-round co-feature to the Mikaela Mayer-Maiva Hamadouche title unification tilt at The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, part of Curio Collection by Hilton.
Melendez-Mattice replaces the Janibek Alimkhanuly-Hassan N’Dam middleweight showdown, which has been postponed to a later date.
The entire card will stream live and exclusively in the United States on ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Matchroom Boxing and OPI Since 82, tickets starting at $25 are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting AXS.com.
Melendez (16-1, 13 KOs), from Puerto Rico, turned pro with a first-round knockout on a Top Rank card in July 2018. The only blemish on his pro ledger came via split decision defeat in his third pro fight in September 2018. Since that setback, Melendez is 14-0 with 11 knockouts, including eight victories since last December. Mattice (17-2-1, 13 KOs), from Cleveland, Ohio, is no stranger to American boxing fans. He has won two straight fights since a February 2020 majority decision loss to rising lightweight Isaac Cruz on a nationally televised card.
“I’m grateful to Top Rank and ESPN for this opportunity, and I’m coming to give the fight fans a great show,” Melendez said. “When you stay ready, good things happen. I’m always in the gym and in shape, and I give credit to Mattice for being ready as well.”
Mattice said, “I’ve been staying ready, and when the opportunity came to fight Melendez, I did not hesitate. Everybody has been turning me down at 130 pounds. This is a big opportunity.”
In a special feature, undefeated Las Vegas-born junior lightweight Andres “Savage” Cortes will battle Mark Bernaldez in an eight-rounder. Cortes (15-0, 8 KOs) notched more than 100 wins as an amateur, including a pair of triumphs over current undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez. His professional breakthrough came in August in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when he knocked out former world title challenger Genesis Servania in one round. That was the first time Servania had been knocked out in 37 professional fights. Bernaldez (23-4, 17 KOs) is a 10-year pro from the Philippines who has won three straight fights by knockout since a July 2020 decision defeat to Albert Bell.
Cortes said, “This is a huge opportunity to show out in front of my fans in Las Vegas. After my big win against Servania, I am coming to do a number on Bernaldez.”
In other undercard action:
- Joseph “Blessed Hands” Adorno (14-0-2, 12 KOs) returns in a scheduled eight-round lightweight contest against Damian “El Macho” Araujo (21-3, 8 KOs). Adorno is coming off a pair of draws, including a Fight of the Year contender in April versus fellow unbeaten Jamaine Ortiz. Araujo last fought in April, losing a decision to then-unbeaten junior welterweight prospect Omar Juarez.
- Abdullah Mason, a 17-year-old lightweight prodigy from Cleveland, will make his professional debut in a four-rounder against Florida native Jaylan Phillips (1-0, 1 KO). Mason, considered one of America’s top amateur talents, signed with Top Rank earlier this month and is managed by James Prince.
- Unbeaten middleweight prospect Tyler “Hercules” Howard (19-0, 11 KOs) returns from a nearly year-long layoff to fight the upset-minded Ian Green (14-2, 11 KOs) in an eight-rounder. Howard was last seen on the Terence Crawford-Kell Brook undercard grinding out an eight-round decision over KeAndrae Leatherwood.
Credit: Top Rank