J'Leon Love Talks Career, Mayweather's Camp, More

By Chris Robinson

J’Leon Love doesn’t come across as your typical 24-year old. An unbeaten middleweight (10-0, 6 KO’s), Love has a sense of appreciation and modesty about him that are hard to find in most aspiring prospects in the game of boxing.
Love is presently training out of the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he has been a chief sparring partner for Floyd Mayweather Jr. as he preps for his May 5th date with Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto.
Prior to a recent training session, Love took some time to reflect on what his career has encompassed thus far, including his early days near Detroit, Michigan, his initial interest in the sport, stepping into the famed Kronk Gym, and learning from the late Walter Smith.
Love also touched on his time in camp with former champion Antonio Margarito late last year, revealed why he decided to make the move to Las Vegas, and spoke about training alongside Mayweather Jr.

This is what Love had to share…
Growing up and learning respect…
“I grew up in Inkster, Michigan, a few miles outside of Detroit. Basically, my childhood was great. My mother was my father, you know what I mean? She raised me to be who I am today, a respectful young man. To respect everybody, to give everybody a chance. To listen when people talk. That’s what it was about. My childhood was not the best but I can’t complain because it’s what made me who I am today.”
What you’re fighting for…

“I love Detroit, I love Inkster, Michigan. It’s rough. It’s the ghetto, it’s the hood. It’s rough, a lot of murders, a lot of drugs, a lot of prostitutes, the whole nine. That’s what it was about but it makes you stronger because when you step out you know what you’re fighting for. Not only am I fighting for myself and my family, but I got so many people behind me that I can help out.”
Initial interest in boxing…
“I saw the Army and the Navy fighting when I was about twelve or thirteen years old on T.V. and I asked my mom if I could do it. She wasn’t having it. My mom was the ‘Once I saw no, I mean no’ type of mom. That’s when my stepdad came into my life and I kind of let him know that I wanted to get into boxing and he was full-fledged down with it. He kind of snuck me to the gym without my mom knowing and that’s when I was about fourteen going on fifteen. That’s when it started.”
A natural talent…

“I have always been a fighter. Growing up fighting with my brother, growing up fighting in the neighborhood; it came natural to fight. I was fighting three, four times a day sometimes. I just know that one-on-one combat, I was pretty good at it, but if I had some technique behind it, I can be like the Marvin Haglers and things like that. Those are the guys I saw; Marvin Hagler knocking out Tommy Hearns and fighting Sugar Ray Leonard.”
First footsteps inside of the Kronk Gym…

“When I first went down into Kronk Gym. I walked down to the original Kronk, in the basement. Almost 112 degrees in the basement. That’s when I realized, ‘Wow, this is it’. When I actually got in the ring and sparred guys better than me, I didn’t do half bad. I said ‘I’m going to take this serious. I’m going to see where this goes’. That’s when I knew. When I hit the jungle. That’s what we called it.”
A memorable time as an amateur…

“My first trainer was Walter Smith, who’s passed now. He was a legend in the game. I had a great opportunity starting fresh with him and after that, Emanuel Steward’s nephew Javan Hill took over after that and took me through my amateur career. I was a top amateur, going to every national tournament, holding my own with some of the best fighters out there. A lot of prospects now. It was a great feeling to know you are representing the USA in different duels and tournaments like that. It was a big accomplishment. Amateurs is the amateurs though. When you step up to the pros it’s a different atmosphere.”
Going for what you want…
“It’s just hard work. You got so many fighters that are just out there that can fight but they aren’t given the opportunity. I just know that God has blessed me with the opportunity. So go for it. Don’t let it get the best of me. Go for it, work hard, be determined, go for what you want. It’s not handed to you. So you gotta go get it. I’m going to keep putting that hard work and dedication in and that’s what I’m going to go for.”
Signing with Lou Dibella…

“Dibella is a great guy and Dibella Entertainment has been around so long. They have done some great things in the sport of boxing. When I first got the offer from Dibella Entertainment, it was a dream come true. There are so many guys that are passed over and looked over and here, little ol’ me, J’Leon Love, has the opportunity. It was all right. I have a great advisor that helped me out in Greg Leon, one of the best in the game.”
How he became of part of Margarito’s camp last year…
“My guy Ernest Gabion, with Everlast, a lot of people know him. Great dude, showed me a lot of love, actually spoke highly about me and that’s how it came about. They called me to come to camp and as good as he spoke about me, that’s the work I put in. They like me and they kept me.”
His time in Camp Margarito in Temoaya, Mexico…

“It was tremendous. Experience of a lifetime. A big learning factor. I’m a sponge and I’m just soaking up as much experience as possible. Antonio Margarito, people say a lot of bad things about him but I only see good things from him. You know what I mean? The whole wrap situation has nothing to do with me. I feel like he served his. He was 100% professional with me. The camp was great, being there with Robert Garcia, Brandon Rios, Jesus Soto Karass, and so many more man. And being in Mexico, it’s great. I got to witness and see different things.”
Why he moved to Las Vegas…

“You go to Brazil to play soccer. And in Europe to play soccer and those things. But Vegas is the backyard for boxing. Why not? I don’t gamble, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I can’t really get caught up in what people say is the ‘sin’ in the city. I’m 100% dedicated to boxing, that’s my life. I came out here and I’m in Camp Mayweather and it’s great. The opportunity has blessed me. It opened more doors.”
The fight scene in Vegas…

“Being at the H.I.T. Factory, there’s so many great trainers there. So many great fighters there. I’ve only really been to a couple gyms here in Las Vegas but I know there’s so many more and it’s such good work. You run into guys; Ishe Smith, another prospect Badou Jack, Bastie Samir, all these great guys and it’s top notch work. And that’s what you need.”
Learning from Floyd Mayweather…
“They were just looking for work and my name came up. They gave me a call and I’ve been here ever since. It seems that I’ve been doing pretty good. It’s like playing one on one with Michael Jordan. This is everything anyone is the sport of boxing today would love to do. Floyd’s work ethic has definitely rubbed off on me. Hard work and dedication.”

RECENT  SLIDESHOWS - Click the link for more images 

Bonus images of J'Leon Love - A look at J'Leon love in his camps with Mayweather and Margarito, his time in Las Vegas, early professional bouts, and more
Amir Khan settling into camp in the Philippines - The former champion trains in the Philippines ahead of his May 19th rematch with Lamont Peterson
Introducing Floyd Mayweather's sparring partners - Exclusive photos from Camp Mayweather as we take a look at Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s sparring partners, plus showcase other young talent in the gym. Including cameos by 50 Cent, Roger Mayweather, Andre Dirrell, Hasim Rahman, and others

Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at [email protected]
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User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Rockin' on 04-01-2012

I saw him when he was younger coming up when I was working the amatuer bouts. He showed promise even then and is one heck of a nice kid to talk with. I wish him all the luck and keep…

Comment by Carpe Diem on 04-01-2012

How much money do those guys make per sparring session?

Comment by HEZEKYHWH on 04-01-2012

[QUOTE=SkillspayBills;11959224]This is the guy that they say is giving Floyd the best work out of all his sparring partners. Definitely have to keep a watch out on him.[/QUOTE] Check him out on youtube bro... And are you like in the…

Comment by SkillspayBills on 04-01-2012

This is the guy that they say is giving Floyd the best work out of all his sparring partners. Definitely have to keep a watch out on him.

Comment by HEZEKYHWH on 04-01-2012

[QUOTE=DempseyRollin;11958615]Lol u mean like that idiot Omar Henry? I agree[/QUOTE] He is a better talent than that. But right now to not even have 12 fights and be training with Floyd..... Thats something veterans would pay to do, yet hes…

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