By Jackie Kallen
On the undercard of Saturday’s showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Robert Guerrero, several young prospects will be trying to make a mark for themselves. Among them will be former Detroit, current Vegas resident,
J’Leon Love and Rosemead, CA’s Leo Santa Cruz.
Love is stepping up and putting his 15-0 record on the line in a 10-round battle against tough Gabriel Rosado. The 25-year old Love had better have his game tight and slick when he steps into the ring. Rosado is no joke. He may have lost his last outing (a 7th round TKO by Gennady Golovkin in January) but he showed such heart and determination that he won a lot of new fans along the way to the loss.
With a record of 21-6, Rosado has been around the block a few times. He has been in with the likes of Shechew Powell and Derek Ennis. At only 27 years old, he still has lots of life left in that body. And with a 6’0 solid frame, he will be looking to teach Love a few new tricks.
The fight is for the NABF Middleweight title and both men would love to walk out with the belt around their waist. Part of Team Mayweather, Love is being touted as a future superstar. He has the looks and the personality. Now he has to rack up some meaningful wins. His recent victory over last-minute replacement Derrick Findley was a good test. Saturday night he will face an even tougher one.
Super Bantamweight Leo Santa Cruz will also be putting his undefeated record on the line when he faces Alexander Munoz for the USBA title. With a record of 23-0-1, he is favored to crush Munoz, who is 36-4. But he’d better be careful because Alexander Munoz can punch. He has dispatched 70% of his opponents by way of KO. He knows a KO is the best way to win against Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz is ten years younger and is hungry for a world title in the Super Bantamweight division. He already owns one in the Bantamweight class. He can pound a bit, too. He flattened Eric Morel in five rounds and destroyed Victor Zaleta in nine. These two dynamos will not be fooling around Saturday night.
At 13-0, Badou Jack is another one of Mayweather’s protegees. He is a 29 year-old Super Middleweight out of Las Vegas. Originally from Sweden, the 6’1″ banger has been fighting here in the States since 2010. He has the same KO stats as his opponent: 70%.
Jack doesn’t have too much to worry about, though. He is fighting 33 year-old Michael Gbenga from Ghana. With a record of 16-7, Gbenga has stopped every man that he beat. He has no W decisions on his record. Of the seven times he has lost, only one was by way of KO. But he is not really in the same class as Jack. Or so it seems.
There is one more interesting match-up on the undercard. Mayweather is high on another Super Middleweight named Luis Arias. He is only 4-0 so far but he has three KOs and is a 22 year-old out of Milwaukee. This is his fifth fight in six months and it is a 6-rounder. He is on a fast track.
His opponent, DonYil Livington is a 28 year-old California kid who has lost his last two in a row, getting stopped in the 7th round eight months ago by Paul Mendez. Whether or not he can beat Arias and get back on the express train is a big question mark. Having seen them both fight, I have to believe that Livingston will be a satisfying win for Arias.
It’s good to see such an interesting undercard. In some cases, you can walk in right before the main event and not have missed much. I, for one, will be there early enough on Saturday to catch ALL the action.
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen