J’Leon Love | The Future Star of Boxing
I recently met up with a young fighter who has the potential to become the fight games biggest star. It was a pleasure to sit down with the very approachable and placid J’Leon Love to discuss his plans for the future. Hailing out of Inkster, Michigan, Love hopes to follow in the footsteps the regions most famous fighters Thomas “Hitman” Hearns and Joe Louis and dominate his opponents in similar devastating fashion.
Now boxing and training out of the Mayweather Gym in Las Vegas, Love has been training alongside Floyd Mayweather and sparring with boxing’s elite in his quest to become the Middleweight champion of the world. He has positive view of life and is eager to fulfil his ambition of becoming the pound for pound king.
As we chatted in the heat and intensity of the Mayweather Gym, Love divulged that he has an interesting past. He modelled with Kate Moss back in 2007 and has sparred with Wladimir Klitschko and appears to have a great interest in the history of boxing. A young fighter with and old school mentality, he is on the cusp of gaining the recognition he deserves.
His Facebook profile clearly outlines his desire to succeed and reaffirms his own confidence in his ability to become the fight games top dog.
“Can’t Wait To Showcase My Talent To The World. J’Leon Love: Professional boxer currently 10-0 6kos living in Detroit Michigan. 24 yrs of age and living life and appreciating every moment I get to spend on this earth. My dream is to become Middle Weight Champion of the world and I will continue my quest to being just that and eliminate all competition that stands in my way.”
On Saturday at the Hard Rock Cafe and Casino in Las Vegas he has been promoted to co-feature on Showtime Champion Boxing Live following the withdrawal of Randall Bailey from his bout against Devon Alexander. Love will get his chance to shine on national television when he when he takes on Ramon Valenzuela of Chicago over Ten Rounds.
What was it like sparring with Floyd Mayweather Jnr?
In boxing you think of it as a food chain. I’m currently at the bottom of the food chain trying to work my way up and get the experience and getting so much out of boxing and being able to spar with Floyd Mayweather who is at the top of the food chain. It’s definitely an honour, much respect and God has blessed me with the opportunity.
It helps pay the bills sparring with Floyd?
(Laughs) It definitely does do.
What is your next step and hope for the future?
Just to become the best fighter and I want the world to know J’Leon Love as one of the greatest fighters who ever laced up the gloves. You know I think I’m doing great, it’s a marathon not a sprint. I think I’m doing well here (at the Mayweather Gym) and I had a chance to spar with Antonio Margarito in preparation for Miguel Cotto and I’ve done the same with the greatest Floyd Mayweather as he prepares for Cotto.
Yeah I thought I recognised you from 24/7. What was it like in the Margarito camp?
Everything was great. Margarito, his training team and the whole camp was a great experience that I take with me.
Joking aside do you think Margarito got a bad rap (following his ban for being caught with illegal hand wraps ahead of his fight with Shane Mosley)?
I wouldn’t know man. He was 100 hundred percent professional with me. I don’t know, things happen in the sport and it’s such that it did happen. I always say it’s in the past so lets move in the present.
Do you ever look across the pond to Europe for potential opponents or rivals?
Oh man there are a lot of good fighters coming up in Europe and a lot of great fighters that have paved the way. You know Joe Calzaghe, Mikkel Kessler and so many coming up like James Degale… Chubby (Chunky) in the Super Middleweight division, you know Daniel Geale all these different guys.
You know Americans need to go to the UK and UK fighters also need to come to the US. You know back in the day when you had Marvin Hagler, Leonard and all those top guys, they went everywhere to fight. They went everywhere and fought the best and that’s what it is and how it should be.
What do you make of Andre Ward?
Andre Ward is a spectacular boxer man! Right now he has the Super Middleweight division sown up, I don’t see him losing anytime soon. The man has a great trainer and is definitely something special in the sport and has the chance to be a great like Floyd Mayweather.
The Super Six was good for the sport. But although it means a fighter has a better opportunity to make money, is the number of world title belts available at each weight detrimental to the sport? It’s hard to know who the real champion is?
Like you said, back in the day you only had the WBC, WBA and IBF belt and everyone fought one another. These different tournaments coming up is great for boxing, it’s very exciting and having so many belts gives everyone a chance, but I don’t know. My goal is to be the pound for pound best fighter in the world, so I just want to grab every belt that is out there, you know what I mean!
Do you think there are too many fighters that are really below world title level, yet they have claimed a belt?
You know that’s the thing now about promoters and being moved carefully. Advisers and managers move fighters carefully to build their record and things like that and that’s a big part of it.
You got guys like me that have an advisor that look after my interests otherwise I would fight Mike Tyson tomorrow if I had to and that is not always the best thing. It’s a good thing in a way, but you have to see where your fighters are nowadays. You get guys carried with care and safety that get involved in a dogfight and they don’t know how to act.
You know British Super Middleweight George Groves?
Yeah George Groves he is doing pretty well over there too.
He has a similar record to yours and is looking to fight for a world title (his bout against Robert Steilgitz fell through after Groves pulled out due to injury)?
He’s moving fast man, but if he can do it, he can do it.
Your famous, you appeared twice on HBO’s 24/7 – once with Antonio Margarito and more recently with Floyd Mayweather?
Yeah I know. But it’s not all about the 24/7, it’s about the experience and a great opportunity to work with the greatest
What are your thoughts on Floyd Mayweather?
You know people dog Floyd, they say he is fighting who he wants and who he doesn’t. The guys he has fought have been great fighters and winners. This guy has come up from what like Lightweight and has moved on up and is like 35 or 36 or something like that and still on top of the game.
You know I don’t like to ride the band wagon, but I have to say that Floyd Mayweather is the best fighter in the world today and it’s just a great experience to be training beside him.
Bernard Hopkins to fight on into his late Forties. How long do you think Floyd Mayweather can continue for?
I think he can keep going. His fights are getting better and better. You know I think he will last.
If he is around long enough you will be fighting against him?
(Laughs) Man, I don’t know I’m a big guy you know. If that’s what it take than I will fight the best in the world so why not.
What are your best attributes as a fighter?
I throw good combinations, body shots off a good jab. I think I have the all around repertoire of punches. You know, just hard work is keeping me going and moving me up.
Do you feel compelled to get the fans on your side by being spectacular and putting on a great performance each time you fight?
You producing good fights claims fans. But you know fans is what makes this sport what it is today. They say boxing is falling under, but I don’t think MMA can touch what boxing has achieved and it can never take the spotlight.
Interview and photos by Eoin Mundow