NEW YORK - A 10-round middleweight fight between undefeated J'Leon Love (12-0, 7 KO's) of Las Vegas and Chicago's Ramon Valenzuela (7-1, 1 KO) will open the telecast this Saturday, Sept. 8, on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING live on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.
The fight, originally scheduled for SHOWTIME EXTREME, will precede the 12-round main event between unbeaten Nigerian Olusegun Ajose (30-0, 14 KO's) and hard-hitting Argentine Lucas Matthysse (31-2, 29 KO's) for the vacant WBC Interim Super Lightweight World Championship.
The promising six-feet-tall, 24-year-old Love will be making his fourth start this year after fighting four times in 2011 and five times in 2010. In his last fight, Love, who is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, registered two knockdowns en route to a shutout eight-round decision win over Joseph De Los Santos on July 14 in Las Vegas.
Valenzuela, a five-foot-eight, 21-year-old, will be looking to rebound. The winner in his initial seven bouts, Valenzuela was upset by Donatos Bondoravas in his most recent outing on May 25.
Love, who trains out of the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas, is an up-and-coming prospect with good skills, movement and punching power. Before turning professional on Jan. 29, 2010, he was an outstanding amateur, winning the 2007 Golden Gloves championship at 165 pounds.
"We're working extremely hard," Love said. "We know we have a tough and game opponent. We don't take anybody lightly. I know the guy's coming off of a loss recently, which makes him even hungrier to get back in the game and get a victory, so I know he's coming to fight. I know he has a lot to prove right now, but I'm not the one to make a statement against.
"I'm definitely working my butt off and doing exactly what I'm supposed to do," continued Love. "We're looking to get that victory. We're two young fighters with a lot of skills, and we're going to put it on the line and get it done. It's going to be a good fight."
"This is a wonderful opportunity for J'Leon and he will definitely take advantage of the opportunity to showcase his skills on Saturday night," said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. "We're really excited and looking forward to him going out there to take care of business against Valenzuela."
Nicknamed "El Dragon" because he likes the animated series, "Dragon Ball Z," the aggressive-minded Valenzuela didn't spend time moping after his last fight.
"I took a week off," said Valenzuela, who trains at Garfield Park Gym in Chicago. "I got back in the gym right away. I spar with different people - a lot of local guys, whoever. I'm a brawler-boxer. I'm prepared and ready to fight."
The live undercard fights being covered by SHOWTIME EXTREME (7 p.m. ET/PT) are Daquan Arnett (6-0, 4 KO's) of Orlando, Fla. facing Jesus Tavera (3-2, 1 KO), of Mexico City, Mex., in a six-round junior middleweight scrap and Ishe Smith (23-5, 11 KO's) of Las Vegas squaring off against Puerto Rico's Irving Garcia (17-7-3, 8 KO's) in a 10-round junior middleweight matchup.
Rounding out the non-televised fights will be a six round junior featherweight fight between Melinda Cooper (21-2, 11 KO's) of Las Vegas and Celine Salazar (4-0-2, 1 KO) of San Antonio, Tex. and a six round lightweight fight between Zapopan, Mexico's Oscar "El Raton" Cortes (21-0, 11 KO's) and San Angelo, Texas' Miguel Buendia (8-1-1, 5 KO's).