Love Looks to Remain Perfect on Saturday, Reflects on Influence of Emanuel Steward

Love is 13-0 as a professional (Photo courtesy of Team Love).

Written by John Archibald, Resolution Sports

Undefeated Middleweight Facing Tyrone Selders in Texas

Undefeated middleweight J’Leon Love (13-0, 7 KOs) is seeking his 14th professional win in as many bouts on Saturday, battling Louisiana’s Tyrone Selders (8-3, 6 KOs) at the Humble Civic Center in Texas. The fight will serve as the co-feature to a middleweight scrap between Fernando Guerrero and JC Candelo, airing live on Fox Deportes and FSN.

“Training went really well. We put in work, doing all the rounds we needed to do,” Love said of the camp for this bout. “We’ve been running at a 5500-foot elevation on Mount Charleston, we’ve had great sparring, and I’ve been doing everything I was supposed to do. That’s something you always get training at the Mayweather Boxing Gym. I have a great team around me with my strength and conditioning coach, Bob Ware, my trainers, Nelson Figueroa and Angel Caivallo, and my camp coordinator, Dejuan Blake. I can’t complain at all.”

A Michigan native, Love has been spending a lot of time training on the West Coast alongside The Money Team, and running at the highly elevated Mount Charleston is something that has left a lot of reserve energy in his tank on fight nights.

“I’m able to do 10 rounds. I’m able to do 12 rounds. I’d be able to do 15 rounds if I had to do it,” he remarked. “We prepare and train for anything. You see guys who get dropped, get back up, get dropped again, only to get back up again. It’s because they’re in shape. Their bodies are set for war, and that’s what we’re ready for.”

Training at the Mayweather Boxing Gym in Las Vegas not only places Love alongside the pound-for-pound king whose name is on the building, but it also gives him the opportunity to work on a daily basis with some of the best fighters and trainers in the game. As someone who came up at the historic Kronk Gym in Detroit, Love has spent a career in the sport learning from some of the most talented boxing minds of the past half-century, among them being late Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward.

“Think about it. You’re around the best fighter in the world, Floyd Mayweather, Jr.,” he stated. “Before I had ever gotten to the Mayweather Gym, I had been around some of the best fighters in the world. At the Kronk Gym, I was there with Emanuel Steward. I grew up boxing around him. Something like that only adds to your confidence and what you have to do. I’ve just seen so many styles while training around so many different guys. It’s exactly what I need, and it’s what any fighter would dream about having. It’s the perfect situation for me. At the point I am in my career, we’re stepping it up and looking for big things to happen. I have everything I need for that.”

Emanuel Steward passed away on October 26th after a battle with diverticulitis and colon cancer. He trained some of the best fighters of the past 30-something years, and the imprint he left on the boxing game is one that will never be forgotten, especially to a native son of Michigan like Love.

“Emanuel Steward is a legend in the game,” Love said. “The guy is a genius at what he does, training and figuring guys out. He’s done so much, and he was also a great commentator. The man could always tell you what was going to happen before it happened in boxing. In a lot of the fights you come across, he says ‘in the next round, the guy should get stopped,’ and voila, there you have it. The man is a genius who knows what he’s doing. Boxing has definitely suffered a big loss. Detroit has suffered a big loss. He had done so much for the City of Detroit. It’s very sad, the way he took off, but he lived a great life and accomplished so much. I’m just happy to see he’s no longer suffering. At the end of the day, he doesn’t feel pain anymore.”

When Love speaks about Steward and the Kronk Gym, you can hear the pride in his voice. Many world class fighters have called the legendary facility their home, and he carries that legacy with him today.

“Down at the Kronk Gym, that’s where it all went down,” he commented. “So many legends – Tommy Hearns, Milton McCrory, Hilmer Kenty – so many different fighters down there. Michael Moorer, Lennox Lewis, so on and so forth. To have lost Emanuel Steward from boxing, we’ll never get back what he brought to the game. You’ll never find another Emanuel Steward. You’ll never find a guy who can train like Emanuel Steward. There are a lot of great trainers out there, but there’s only one Emanuel Steward. It’s a huge loss for me, a huge loss for the entire boxing community. My prayers go out to the family of Emanuel Steward and all of the fighters who were under him.”

Saturday obviously marks the first time that Love has fought since the passing of Steward, and he looks for it to be the latest stop on his way to eventually becoming another world champion who has called the Kronk Gym his home.

“It’s time to open up the door and show that I’m a big factor in the middleweight division, or in any division if we decide to move up to super middleweight,” he stated. “It’s time to open some eyes and grab some respect, so that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to make an example out of whoever we’re in there with. We’ll be in there Saturday with a tough guy, a durable guy, so we’re definitely looking to make it happen. It’s going to be exciting. We’re going to punch. I’m in there, I’m a fighter. You’re going to see some skills, intelligent movement. Everything you want to see in boxing is what I’m going to display, and that’s exactly what I’m bringing to the table. I don’t know what else to say. I’m just ready to make it happen.”

Love has established a nice following that originates in the Midwest before stretching from the East Coast all the way to the West Coast, and it now appears that the South has also caught wind of what he is presenting to the sport.

“Shouts out to Texas,” he affectionately remarked. “Humble, Texas. Houston, Texas. I’ve been getting so much support from Texas, man. I’ve always wanted to fight in Texas. I fought there in the Olympic Trials, but that was the amateur game. Now we’re in the pro game, so many people are going to be there, we’re on a good card, and it’s going to be televised. Not only can Texas come out and support, people from all over the world can check me out. We’re going to make it happen. I’ve been training so hard, day in and day out. I had a great camp with my team. So many guys have been working with me. I’ve had great sparring, great training partners, you know what I mean? We’re ready to make this thing happen.”

For the latest on J’Leon Love, make sure to follow him on Twitter @2012Jlove.



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