By Keith Idec
Montana Love’s gamble paid big dividends Friday night at a small casino in Sloan, Iowa.
Love took a tougher fight, at a lower weight and on short notice earlier this week. None of those factors prohibited him from producing the most noteworthy win of his three-year pro career. The skillful southpaw out-boxed Samuel Teah in an eight-round junior welterweight fight to remain unbeaten.
Cleveland’s Love (9-0, 4 KOs) used his jab, counter-punching ability and movement to win a majority decision over Philadelphia’s Teah (12-2-1, 5 KOs) in the first of three fights Showtime televised from WinnaVegas Casino Resort.
Judges Adam Pollack and Jeff Sinnett each scored the fight 78-74 for Love. Judge Brad Rebeck scored the fight even (76-76), though Love clearly controlled the action.
Love didn’t hurt Teah at any point, but mostly neutralized Teah by forcing his slower opponent to follow him around the ring, without much success. Teah attacked Love to start the fifth round and was able to land a few power punches during those three minutes, but couldn’t hurt his elusive opponent.
A flurry of punches Love landed backed Teah into the ropes and made him hold Love with just over a minute remaining in the seventh round.
Love’s movement troubled Teah from the beginning of the bout, as Teah had difficulty landing his jab and finding his punching range during the first two rounds. Teah never really made adjustments, which allowed Love to settle into a rhythm and control the action.
The 23-year-old Love took this fight on just four days’ notice once Teah’s original opponent, Wellington Romero (14-0-1, 8 KOs), pulled out of their fight due to an injury.
Love was scheduled to fight on this card for several weeks, but he took a significant step up in competition when he agreed to replace Romero. His previous two opponents entered their fights against Love with a combined record of 21-36-1.
Before Friday night, Teah hadn’t lost since dropping a four-round majority decision to Lavisas Williams (then 4-0-1) in July 2014.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.