PREVIEW OF J'LEON LOVE VS. GABRIEL ROSADO
By Rob Soucy in Las Vegas
Middleweights J'Leon Love and Gabriel Rosado very nearly came to blows during their ceremonial arrivals at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas on Tuesday afternoon. As Love was brought on stage, he made a beeline for Rosado and got in his face. "I'm not a trash talker over social media but Rosado disrespected me on Twitter," said Love later in the week. "He said that he was going to punish me in this fight. Nobody has ever punished me other than my parents and that's not going to change on May 4th." Love's actions were out of character for his usually laid-back demeanor.
Rosado countered, "I think he is trying to be something he's not. I think he is trying to be like Floyd, but it isn't working with me. He can say all he wants but the hands are gonna do the talking on Saturday night.
Rosado (21-6) has much more big-fight experience than Love (15-0) and believes that will be a factor in the outcome of their pay-per-view showdown on Saturday prior to the Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero main event. "I feel like I am bigger, stronger, and more experienced and I think that's gonna show," said Rosado. "Has he seen my resume? I've been in with Alfredo Angulo, Kassim Ouma, Sechew Powell, Charles Whitaker, Fernando Guerrero, Jesus Soto Karass and Gennady Golovkin. Against Golovkin I was a junior middleweight coming up [for his first fight at 160 pounds] but now I believe that my body has grown into the middleweight division."
Love is taking a big step up in competition, considering he has been brought along very slowly. In is last fight he stepped up against Derrick Findlay and won convincingly. Though Rosado is by far his toughest test, Love says he is ready. "I'm not underestimating Rosado, I know he has a lot of experience but I asked for this fight," said Love. "Leonard (Ellerbe) came to me with three names and I told him that I want Rosado. He was the toughest of the three, so I asked him to make the fight. I believe in my skills and I believe I have what it takes to make it far in this sport and become a world champion."
Rosado feels that his experience will be his biggest advantage. "At the end of the day my experience is going to kick in, this is his first time at this level and I've been there," said a confident Rosado. I've been in the position he's in, this isn't but another day at the office for me. I'll be a lot more comfortable and your gonna see a vet in there, your gonna see me break him down. This fight is not going the distance, I'm gonna smash this dude. We're gonna apply smart pressure, the plan is to make him miss four and land two.
Love's style is to box, but he hasn't shown much power early in his career. To win this fight, Love's boxing skills must come to the forefront. "I'm going to stay off the ropes and keep the fight in the center of the ring," stated Love. I'm going to use my jab and my whole arsenal of punches and let my hands go. I'm not going to get tired, we are always in shape, getting tired doesn't even cross my mind. We run day and night at 9,000-feet elevation. I know sparring is different than fight night but I've been in there with Miguel Cotto, Jermain Taylor, Antonio Margarito and of course Floyd Mayweather. His edge in experience isn't going to play as big a role as he thinks it will."
Regardless of the outcome, this match-up is a lot more intriguing than any pay-per-view opener that I can remember. Can J'Leon Love get by Gabriel Rosado and continue what he believes will be a rise to the top of the middleweight division? Or is Gabriel Rosado's edge in experience going to be the determining factor in this pick'em fight? We'll know Saturday night by about 10 p.m EST.