Rogelio “Porky” Medina needed less than three full rounds to shatter the title hopes of J’Leon Love with a savage left hook KO at the Palm Casino Resort. This Mayweather Promotions triple-header was intended to be a showcase card and begin the countdown to Floyd’s September 13 rematch against Marcos Maidana. Instead, we have the career of Mayweather Promotion’s most promising prospect set back for at least the next 6-8 months.
This was not the outcome Love’s team envisioned when they selected a fighter that was 2-4 coming into last night’s bout. So what went wrong?
THE UNDERDOG’S GAME PLAN: Medina is a journeyman, but he’s no “bum.” The 25-year-old Mexican slugger has a solid frame and won’t temper his pressure attack unless you earn his respect. In other words, you have to ring his bell a few times if you have any hope of retaining punching space. Love, who had a 5 inch reach advantage (77” to 72”), started well by popping Medina with jabs at mid-range. But by the second, Medina had already begun to trap Love on the ropes and rip the body with hooks.
The last-minute of the second round was very telling, as Love missed repeatedly with counter shots upstairs while Medina stalked behind a tight high guard and pounded the body. Mixed in with that body assault was a chopping counter right to the head that got Love’s attention.
Medina’s tactics made Love sloppy and feeling like he had to exchange and catch Medina with something big to get respect. That might have worked if Love did it with patience and behind a concerted body attack like originally planned. What he opted to do was trade left hooks.
Love’s was thrown haphazardly — Medina’s was thrown short and accurately. Take a guess on what happened next.
A GOOD BET: Not to toot my own horn, but I liked Medina’s chances going in. As Steve Farhood always does on ShoBox, it pays to look “behind the numbers” when gauging a so-called hapless opponent. Yes, Medina came in with a 2-4 record over his last six bouts. However, his last fight was a highly disputed decision loss to Jonathan Gonzalez. He came into the fight very confident and frankly pissed off at what he viewed as an undeserved sense of entitlement from Money Team fighters.
“My opponent likes to trade punches, has no fear and is in great shape. But, he isn’t always consistent with his punches and has a suspect chin,” said Medina on Friday at the final weigh-in. “All the fighters on TMT want to fight like Floyd [Mayweather]. The problem with that is there is only one Floyd and you must be yourself and not try to fight like someone else.”
TWITTER JUMPS FOR JOY, A FAMILY IN ANGUISH: Considering the sheer elation on my timeline, a lot of fans shared Medina’s sentiments.
The opposite manifested ringside. For all their flash and boisterous statements, I can confirm that The Money Team does roll like an actual family. At the Ishe Smith card I attended in Vegas earlier this year, various blood and extended family could be heard screaming encouragement throughout the entire night. Therefore, the sheer anguish you saw on many of their faces was genuine.
It was later confirmed that the frantic woman who ran to the apron during the KO sequence was Love’s mother. Can you imagine trying to struggle to your feet with your own mother screaming and crying in front of you?
THE YEAR IS NOT OVER: J’Leon Love had a lot of work cut out for him. The competition will need to be dropped and punchers will be off the menu for the forseeable future. Since Showtime is very accommodating to the Mayweather camp, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get Love a December confidence builder fight on a ShoBox or Sho Extreme undercard.
BETTER NOW THAN LATER: In the past 12 months, Mayweather Promotions has seen three of their fighters lose their undefeated records in dramatic fashion (Mickey Bey, Badou Jack, J’Leon Love). Two of them are prospects, and Bey, who will face Miguel Vazquez on September 13, is a fringe contender. No one should be a fan of letting fighters build 30-40 win records before we find out what they’re truly about. One way or another, we’ll all know the ceiling of these three aforementioned fighters by this time next year. You may not like the fighters, but you can’t say Mayweather Promotions is protecting them either.
UNDERCARD RESULTS: Badou Jack returned to the ring with an easy 10-round decision over Jason Escalera. Although Escalera is very one-dimensional, he is a big puncher. That made this bout an interesting one to gauge where Jack is mentally after being blasted out in one round by Derek Edwards.
Jack was definitely cautious about exchanging and wary of Escalera’s left hook. It was a pedestrian bout to watch, but still a solid comeback following such a devastating defeat. As the commentators noted, it’s probably going to take 2-3 bouts before we see some of Jack’s usual aggression return.
In the opener, Ronald Gavril scored a seventh round TKO over Thomas Falowo. Gavril is yet another super middlweight in the Mayweather stable and might be the one with the most to gain from Love’s defeat. Gavril is only 10-0 (8 KOs), so it’s difficult to determine his potential — especially considering Falowo is clearly a natural middleweight. Let’s hope Mayweather Promotions gives him another TV date or two to close out 2014.
LOVE VS. MEDINA (FULL FIGHT)