Ernesto Espana of Venezuela will defend his world lightweight championship against Leonidas Asprilla of Colombia and unbeaten Ed (Too Tall) Jones will make his third start as a heavyweight boxer today at the D.C. Armory/Starplex.

The first of six bouts starts at 2 p.m. Jones will oppose Fernando Montez, former Mexican champion (24-6-1) in a six-rounder, before the main event of 15 rounds. The bouts will not be televised, and may conflict with a heavyweight fight between Scott LeDoux and Mike Weaver, which is on WDVM-TV-9, at 4:30 p.m.

Espana won the World Boxing Association 135-pound title, vacated by Roberto Duran, by knocking out Claude Noel of Trinidad in the 13th round last June. Espana, 26, has won 28 of 29 bouts, 23 by knockouts and 13 of those on the first round.

In his first title defense in August, Espana was knocked down for the first time in his career by Johnny Lira of Chicago in the sixth round. Espana knocked down Lira in the eighth, broke his jaw in the ninth, and the challenger was not able to answer the bell for the 10th round.

Asprilla, 24, has won 25 of 26 fights, 18 by knockouts.

Heavyweight Jones, the 6-foot-8, 248-pound former Dallas Cowboy defensive end, will have a height advantage of six inches and a weight advantage of 18 pounds over Montez, one of whose losses came on a knockout by Duane Bobick.

Jones won his first bout by a decision after being knocked down in the sixth and final round by Jesus (Yaqui) Meneses on Nov. 3. Jones knocked out Abdullah Muhammad in the sixth round in his second ring appearance on Nov. 13.

Derrik Holmes of New Carrollton, Md., undefeated junior featherweight with only a draw marring his 11-bout career, will oppose Leo Cruz of the Dominican Republic in a 10-rounder. Cruz has a 33-5-1 record. Holmes has scored seven knockouts, Cruz 14.

Johnny Gant, veteran Washington welterweight with a 45-11-2 record, meets Jose Palacios of Mexico (50-10) in a 10-round bout; a junior lightweight six-round bout matches Ray (Boom Boom) Mancini, Cincinnati (2-0), against Ric (Boom Boom) Petterson (4-1), Powder Mill Village, Md. and a four-round heavyweight fight between Al Coffin of Arlington (1-0) and John Green of Richmond, making his professional debut, rounds out the card.

Lightweight champion Espana told the Associated Press yesterday he went to the White House this week to try to deliver a pair of boxing gloves to the President, inscribed, "To Jimmy Carter, a true world champion of human rights."

Nick Acosta, Espana's trainer and interpreter, said the guards at the gate wouldn't accept the gloves or call their supervisor. "It's a shame," Acosta said. "Do you know what this means to a poor kid from Venezuela? Now we're using the gloves for publicity pictures."