LAS VEGAS – On Tuesday afternoon, fighters from Saturday’s big pay-per-view at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas made their “grand arrivals” to the host hotel. For two undercard fighters, the spectacle of the event elevated their competitive spirit to animosity, as J’Leon Love and Gabriel Rosado nearly came to blows when the two met face to face.
Rosado, an experienced former title challenger, was brought on stage first and waited patiently as nearly the entire roster of Floyd Mayweather’s promotional company were brought to the stage. Love, an undefeated prospect who fights Rosado on Saturday, made his way last, and as soon as the Michigan native got on stage he began jawing at Rosado.
“I’m a different breed,” shouted Love, and immediately the two fighters found themselves nose to nose. Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, tried to break it up but his attempted intervention only added fuel to the fighter.
Ellerbe tried holding back his fighter, Love, but in the process offered up some comments that bothered Rosado.
“Last time we saw him he was getting run out of the ring,” said Ellerbe.
“Oh, so you’re a fighter, too?” responded Rosado. “Get the f__k out of my face.”
Nobody jumped in to break things up and it is a wonder how the three managed to restrain themselves from getting ugly.
After the avoided melee, Rosado gave his opinion on the circus that played out.
“Who the f__k is Ellerbe?” said Rosado. “Don’t get in my face unless you’re going to do something. It’s gonna be me and Love in the ring. Love can talk s__t, it’s fight week and he’s a fighter. But for Leonard to get in my face, that’s some nuts s__t.”
It was sort of out of character for Love to get in an opponent’s face the way he did with Rosado.
“I saw it in his face that he thought that I was nothing, like this is gonna be easy,” said Love when asked why he got frustrated.
When asked what he meant, Love continued to illustrate his point.
“They act like it isn’t a tough fight for him. This is a tough task for anybody. You’ve been down before, I haven’t. You’ve lost before, I haven’t. There ain’t no b___h in my blood. I asked you for the fight. We reached out to you.”
Rosado felt that Love’s outburst was a play to get him bothered.
“They know I’m a problem,” said Rosado. “They know that Love is in a real fight. They’re doing that because I know I’m a threat. I’ve been in his situation before, where you’re coming in against a hungry veteran. I have that experience.
“He spars Mayweather and all that, well I sparred Bernard Hopkins. Sparring and fighting are two different things and on Saturday we will see what Love is really all about.”
Love captured some of what has made Floyd Mayweather such a polarizing figure with the way he and Rosado exchanged verbal hooks. Hopefully, the in ring action is as entertaining as the back-and-forth in the MGM Grand lobby was on Tuesday afternoon. If so, Love-Rosado could perhaps be the talk of the night when all is said and done.
Photos / Naoki Fukuda