J’Leon Love talks about coming back from first loss
A knockout loss can be absolutely devastating for an undefeated prospect on the rise. Their ego could be damaged to the point where they would rather lick their wounds in private than address the loss in public.
But not J’Leon Love.
The super middleweight contender who just so happens to fight under the Mayweather Promotions banner was dealt a swift and brutal blow to his world title aspirations when he was flattened by Rogelio Medina on “ShoBox: The New Generation” this past Saturday. To add insult to injury, the shocking third-round knockout happened less than 10 feet away from his mentor, Floyd Mayweather Jr. But rather than hide in seclusion, Love made an appearance at the Mayweather Boxing Club during the five-division world champion’s media day less than a week after suffering his first professional loss.
“People were texting and asking whether I’d show up for Floyd’s media day but why wouldn’t I?” Love explained to RingTV.com. The 18-1 super middleweight says that he isn’t the type to isolate himself after a setback and was in good spirits after the loss. “S__t happens and I just got caught with a good shot.”
Love isn’t the type to make excuses and won’t chalk what transpired on Aug. 30 to a lucky punch. For him, boxing is a sport where one punch can alter everything and he refuses to believe that anything happens by luck. But don’t misconstrue the smile on his face as the 26 year old taking the loss lightly.
“Losing the fight is a big deal,” Love says matter-of-factly. “I’m not going to say that it didn’t affect me because I was 18-0 and now I’m 18-1. I know I can win that fight any day of the week but I just got caught with a good shot and that’s that.”
As a Mayweather Promotions fighter, Love is well aware that the extra exposure comes with its fair share of hostile detractors who took great pride in tearing the Michigan-born fighter apart after the loss. He admits that the cruel messages left on his social media account were difficult to avoid but it has only enhanced his desire to improve in the ring.
“Losing can definitely make you a better fighter,” Love says, stopping short of calling the loss a humbling experience. “I’ve always been a humble dude so this wasn’t necessarily a humbling moment. I always work hard. I don’t know why God put me in this position but we just have to let His will take its course. Am I going to slow down? Hell no. I want it that much more now. But it’s a process that I have to take step by step.”
What helps his road to recovering the momentum that he had built is the fact that many of his fellow TMT stablemates have experienced similar setbacks. Mickey Bey saw his hype train get derailed when John Molina scored a stunning 10th-round TKO in the final round of a fight that Bey was well ahead in. Derek Edwards shockingly upended Badou Jack with a wicked first-round TKO. But both Bey and Jack got right back on their horse and were determined to not allow the setback shatter their dreams of becoming world champion.
“It always helps to see my guys come back,” Love explains. “Plenty guys that I know, even outside of our stable, have bounced back after losing fights. It comes with the territory. Just because I have one loss doesn’t mean that my career is over.”
Considering the path that Love could have went down, losing a fight is far from the end of the world for the once troubled teenager who no longer is concerned about becoming a statistic.
“I sold drugs and robbed people before but look where I am now,” Love says when comparing what his life could have been to what it is today. “My life has been a drastic turnaround from the streets to the ring. I’m blessed to be in the position that I’m in today.”
All the pressure that the boxing pubic has put on him to be like his mentor is nothing compared to the pressure of staying alive in the streets of Michigan. Suffering a loss in the ring is incomparable to losing your freedom or, even worse, your life. And Love is just fine with that.
“I’m not Floyd Mayweather and nobody should expect me to be like him,” Love adds when discussing expectations and those who consider him a failure. He flashes a smile at the mere suggestion that his life has been anything but great despite what happened in that ring on Aug. 30. “How I have turned my life around? That’s what I call success.”