Wednesday afternoon in Las Vegas, middleweight contender J’Leon Love was in attendance at the Mayweather Boxing Club while his stablemates get ready for Friday’s card at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
For the first time, Love discussed at length his suspension stemming from the diuretic he tested positive for following his close decision victory over Gabriel Rosado. The fight took place on the May pay-per-view undercard to promotional boss Floyd Mayweather’s lopsided decision win over Robert Guerrero.
Prior to the fight, Love suffered a family tragedy, as his older brother Gerald was killed in a shooting in Love’s native Detroit. The incident occurred less than two months before Love was set to make the biggest step up in his career.
“My brother was left with nine kids, and now, I’ve taken them up as though they were my own,” shared Love. “I am the one in the family making the big money, so I’m going to make sure they are taken care of now.”
Love shared the details on how he was flying back and forth from Las Vegas to Michigan in order to make arrangements and make sure things were taken care of regarding his brother’s death.
Love shared these details with the Nevada State Athletic Commission a few weeks ago at his hearing, where they handed down a $10,000 fine along with a six-month suspension. The official fight result was also overturned to a no contest.
Though Love stated why he wasn’t totally prepared for the fight with Rosado, he didn’t use it as an excuse, taking complete responsibility for his actions while accepting the sanctions that were handed down.
“You can’t give me a slap on the wrist and I wasn’t looking for one,” said Love. “I take full responsibility for what happened; I’m in control of what goes into my body.”
Love was a pound-and-a-half overweight when he took the diuretic, and felt that more than anything the substance hurt his performance in the ring.
“I wasn’t myself in that fight, and I would love to fight Gabriel again to prove it,” said Love.
“I’ve been asking, ‘Can we do it again?’ I am stronger, I can be aggressive. The outcome is the outcome. It kills me that people are going to always look back at that fight and say that I struggled with Rosado.”
“With [Adrien] Broner, people always look back at the [Daniel] Ponce De Leon fight, with Floyd, they always bring up the [Jose Luis] Castillo fight. This s__t will follow me. I’d love to get a chance to prove I can beat him easy.”
Love doesn’t look at the Rosado fight as a setback, but as something to learn from.
“Obviously, it wasn’t my best performance,” said Love. “But I showed I can handle adversity and come back. I was winning most of the rounds until I got dropped, and then I got up and got right back to it.”
When asked if Mayweather himself talked to Love at all about the positive drug test, Love said he shared a few words of advice.
“Floyd told me to just stay focused and move forward,” said Love. “Floyd is the best in the sport and he has a lot of experience in dealing with bad publicity, so there was some good advice in just keeping focused.”
“Listen, I know that this is going to follow me around, probably for the rest of my career. When I get back in there and start winning, people are going to bring it up or assume I’m on something. That’s my own fault, but not something I can’t handle.”
Love is suspended until November, meaning he won’t be on the big September undercard when Mayweather fights Saul Alvarez in perhaps the biggest fight that can currently be realistically made. If he weren’t suspended, an undercard slot likely would have been carved out for his next fight.
Love isn’t letting that bother him, maintaining himself and promising that he will be ready to get back in the ring when the suspension is over.
“I’m in the gym as if I’m fighting this weekend,” Love said. “As soon as the suspension is over, I’ll be ready to get back in there.”
Photo / Jed Jacobsohn-Golden Boy Promotions/Getty Images
Mark E. Ortega is a contributing writer to RingTV.com and has been featured in boxing publications RING Magazine and Boxing Monthly. He is also a member of the Boxing Writers Assoc. of America and can be reached via e-mail or followed via Twitter.