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Junior welterweight Montana Love keeps building on his new life

05
May

Montana Love thought about it for a moment. The 27-year-old southpaw junior welterweight from Cleveland, Ohio, calls himself “Too Pretty.” But when he recalled the joke by former Philly opponent Samuel Teah in 2018, having some fun with people calling Love, “The Love Machine,” a former porn star who found his way into boxing success, Too Pretty could do nothing but laugh himself.

“I remember telling (Teah) that if I wasn’t a fighter, I would be a porn star,” Love said laughing, before his big fight this Saturday against Mexican Gabriel Valenzuela.

Love (17-0-1, 9 knockouts) will take on Valenzuela (25-2-1, 15 KOs) in a 12-round junior welterweight match on the undercard of the Canelo Alvarez-Dmitry Bivol WBA light heavyweight title fight from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on DAZN.

Love is fresh off stoppage victories over Carlos Diaz and former IBF junior welterweight titlist Ivan Baranchyk.

He feels the importance of this fight can move him closer to a title shot. He has not cracked The Ring’s rankings yet, but he is slotted at No. 11 by the most recent IBF ratings.

“This fight means everything to me,” Love said. “I know (Valenzuela) is coming to fight. I know this is a big opportunity for me, as it is for me. I’m ready for whatever. I’m a lot better than I was (this time last year). Each day I’m getting better because I’m putting the work in and I’m coachable. I’m here to learn and I don’t think that I know it all. I’m constantly growing as a man and as a fighter.”

All jokes aside, boxing has provided Love a new life.

He was released in September 2016 after a 16-month prison stint on drug and theft convictions. It was a speed bump to what was looking like a promising boxing career. Trained by Terence Montgomery, Love credits boxing for saving his life and the current path that he is on.

“I’m hoping to showcase my skills and me being me,” said Love, who is fighting his second fight under Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing. “I have a different type of touch. I want to put that ‘Too Pretty’ swag out there. I’m addressing everything into becoming a better fighter. My movement, my angles, my jab, so I wouldn’t say it’s any one particular thing that I’m improving. I know (Valenzuela) is a little taller than me, and I know he’ll be right there in front of me.

“I know he’s an orthodox fighter and I’m a southpaw. He’ll trade with you, but he’s also a counter puncher, as well. My defense has been good. I’m keeping my hands up and you’re going to see me fly pretty when I come walking out with my dog, a French bulldog, who’s a killer, and then after that, you’re going to see a spectacular performance.”

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.

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