by David P. Greisman
In May 2013, J’Leon Love had the spotlight of the undercard to Floyd Mayweather’s pay-per-view bout against Robert Guerrero. But Love suffered a knockdown against Gabriel Rosado, escaped with a disputed split decision win, and subsequently had that victory overturned because he had tested positive for a banned substance.
This May, Love will be on the spotlight of the undercard to Mayweather’s pay-per-view bout against Marcos Maidana, facing former super-middleweight title challenger Marco Antonio Periban.
Love, along with Mayweather Promotions executive Leonard Ellerbe, say that the fighter was on the receiving end of a talking-to following the Rosado bout, and that he’s improved since.
“Every fighter goes through adversity in their career. Floyd himself went through a tremendous amount of adversity. And all fighters go through adversity,” Ellerbe said on an April 1 media conference call. “That experience with the Rosado fight, he learned a great deal. Me and Floyd sat him down. We had a very hard conversation with him. I think at that point, he made up his mind. One, he wanted to really commit himself and dedicate himself and not take the opportunity for granted. And I think rom that point on he completely changed. I notice personally the dedication and the hard work that he’s put in, and it’s showing up in his past two fights.”
Love scored a sixth-round knockout win over Lajuan Simon in December, and then got a 10th-round stoppage of Vladine Biosse this past February. The 26-year-old is now 17-0 with 10 KOs and that one no contest.
“Everybody needs to grow up eventually,” Love said on April 1. “I’ve had my humbling moment and my grow-up moment. Sitting there and getting torched by Floyd and Leonard, that conversation was not easy to listen to, but I needed that. I am young. I’m still learning. I’m definitely there mentally and physically. We made the right decisions for our career. I have the best people behind me.
“It just opened up my eyes, and I don’t ever want to take another opportunity for granted again, because you never know when you will get them. It definitely made me train harder. The Rosado fight was an eye-opener. A controversial win over Rosado. Who wants that? People said Rosado won or I won. I don’t want to hear that. That’s something I have to carry with me for taking something for granted. I’ve learned a lot, and I stepped my game up 1,000 percent, and you’ll see that May 3.”
He called Mayweather “the greatest fighter” and noted that many fighters would love to be in his position, to be part of Mayweather’s stable, and would love to have a moment to sit down and speak with him.
“Here I am, I’m fumbling with this opportunity, and there’s so many guys out there striving and working hard for the opportunity. It was a wake-up call,” Love said. “I have a job to do. My job is to be in the best shape possible, be mentally focused and physically focused for these fights. This is a big opportunity. I’m making a name for myself.”
Pick up a copy of David’s new book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide. Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]