J’Leon Love fumbles, recovers to face Marco Antonio Periban


Super middleweight J'Leon Love appeared to be at a career crossroads last May.

That's when Love rose from a sixth-round knockdown to win an unpopular split-decision victory over 160-pound rival Gabriel Rosado only to have it become a no-decision after Love failed his post-fight drug examination.

To make matters worse, the attention came on the undercard of the Showtime Pay Per View-televised RING and WBC welterweight championship fight during which Love's promoter, Floyd Mayweather Jr., unanimously decisioned Robert Guerrero at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

"You know how many fighters would love to be under the Mayweather Promotions stable and be guided by the great people that I have?" said Love, 26. "Now, here I am, fumbling this opportunity."

Needless to say, Mayweather was not happy.

"Me and Floyd sat him down and we had a very hard conversation with him. I think that, at that point, he made up his mind to really commit himself and to dedicate himself and not take the opportunities for granted," said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Maywether Promotions, during a conference call on Tuesday.

"Every fighter goes through adversity in their career. Floyd, himself, has gone through a tremendous amount of adversity. All fighters go through adversity. That experience with the Rosado fight, he learned a great deal. I think that from that point on, he has completely changed."

Love (17-0, 10 knockouts) will be after his third straight stoppage win against former title challenger Marco Antonio Periban (20-1-1, 13 KOs) on the May 3 undercard of Mayweather's defense of his belts against WBA counterpart Marcos Maidana at The MGM Grand on Showtime Pay Per View.

"I notice personally the dedication and the hard work that he's put in, and it has shown up in his last two fights," Ellerbe said. "I think that this fight, he's obviously in a tough, tough fight against Periban, but he'll be looking to be impressive, and I know that he's going to go out and do that."

Love characterized his conversation with Mayweather and Ellerbe as being "torched."

"Everybody needs to grow up, eventually, and that was my humbling moment and my grow-up moment," he said. "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, and, you know, I'm definitely there mentally and physically. We made the right decisions in my career, and I have the best people behind me. That just opened up my eyes and I don't ever want to take another opportunity for granted again.

"Because you never know when you're going to get them, and you may never get them again. So, it definitely made me train harder. The Rosado fight was an eye-opener, but that's something that is something that had an effect on your career. Controversial win over Rosado. Who wants that? People say I won or Rosado won. I don't want to hear that. So, that's something that I have to carry with me. I've learned a lot, and I've stepped my game up 1,000 percent, and you're going to see that on May 3."

Love was last been in the ring for a 10th-round knockout of Vladine Biosse in February that followed his sixth-round stoppage of Lujan Simon in December.

In his last two fights, the 29-year-old Periban has battled to a draw with Badou Jack in September that followed a majority decision loss to Sakio Bika in a failed bid to earn the WBA belt last June.

"This is a big opportunity to make a name for myself, being from a small town in Inkster, Michigan," said Love. "I'm putting all of that on the map, and this is something that I've dreamed as since I was a kid, and something that I've been waiting for my entire life."

In addition, Love is fighting in the wake of the death last year of a brother, who "had nine kids," according to an earlier interview that appeared on 

"I have nine nieces and nephews, and they're my life. They're the reason that I'm grinding so hard. Them, along with my mom, my family, my sisters. I'm just keeping God first in my life and along with some hard work, anything can happen. I never knew that these were the cards that I was going to be dealt, but the thing is, I'm blessed every day," said Love.

"I took on this role after my brother was killed last year, and I have to take on that responsibility. I'm the one whose making the money in my family to support them, and I would never hesitate to do that. So that's what I do. My nieces and nephews are my life, and I feel like they're my kids, since I don't have any kids of my own, so I've just taken on the responsibility of taking care of them."