By Marc Livitz: Bad news travels fast, or so we have all heard at one or more times in our lives. Those of us who are seen as bad apples can travel even faster and sometimes the bad one can ultimately laugh all the way to the bank. Such is the case with boxing’s number one attraction, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. The Las Vegas fighter’s May 3rd bout with Marcos Maidana is nearly or already a sellout event and there can be no doubt that the pay TV sales will further compliment the financial bang of a hot Saturday night in Sin City. Whether or not fans choose to tune in to the bout dubbed “The Moment”, there is little confusion that the evening’s televised undercard can hold its weight in one metal or another as well.
Last December, Argentina native Marcos “El Chino” Maidana produced a shocking performance against then undefeated Adrien “The Problem” Broner and practically steamrolled his way to the WBA welterweight title in San Antonio, Texas. As a result, Maidana earned a chance to unseat Mayweather, Jr. in May, while Broner (27-1, 22 KO’s) will undoubtedly look to regain his form when he faces off with Los Angeles native Carlos Molina (17-1-1, 7 KO’s) as part of the three bout undercard which precedes the Mayweather, Jr. versus Maidana clash. Adrien was riding high in the boxing world as he nurtured his unbeaten record and he gained some admirers as well as detractors along the way. The Cincinnati fighter made a name for himself not only by way his unblemished record and style of combat, but his verbose and at times garrulous antics outside of the ring as well. Nevertheless, Broner remains intent on proving that a single defeat will not derail his career and the former three division world titlist will get the chance to show the sporting world just that in a month’s time.
In addition to the evening’s co-main event (Amir Khan vs. Luis Collazo), the pay per view telecast will begin with a bout which involves Mayweather Promotions fighter, J’Leon Love. The Detroit, Michigan boxer holds an undefeated mark of (17-0, 10 KO’s, 1 NC) and already has a victory in 2014 to his credit. However, some may remember him as an undercard participant of “May Day”, when Mayweather, Jr. easily topped Robert Guerrero last May. J’Leon gained a very close and perhaps even marginal spilt decision win over Gabriel Rosado, but was subsequently stripped of the then vacant NABF middleweight title after he tested positive for a banned diuretic substance. His path back to Las Vegas will begin with hard nosed Mexico City veteran, Marco Antonio Periban (20-1-1, 13 KO’s).
The gentlemen who will make up two-thirds of the undercard on May 3rd, as well as representatives from Mayweather Promotions and Showtime Sports were among those who took part in an international media conference call this afternoon.
Selected Highlights Listed Below
Leonard Ellerbe, CEO Mayweather Promotions: “This is one of the best overall cards from top to bottom that I’ve seen in many, many years. I think the fight between Amir Khan and Luis Collazo is a 50/50 fight. There’s still a terrific undercard. When we first announced the main event, the tickets went like hotcakes.”
Stephen Espinoza, Executive VP and General Manager, Showtime Sports: “This is in our opinion the biggest event on the boxing calendar. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Mayweather Promotions always look to put on the best events. I don’t think anyone can say that our event doesn’t stand out against all the other fights that are currently scheduled.”
Carlos Molina, Opening Statements: “We’re working hard for this fight and we’re very humbled for this opportunity. We’ll be ready come May 3rd.”
Adrien “The Problem” Broner, Opening Statements: “I’m happy that Carlos Molina took this fight. I hope he’s coming to lose because he’s going to lose. Everyone is looking for a humbled Adrien Broner, but that’s not going to happen. I’m still young, fast and flashy. I’d been put on a type of pedestal and many others would have been broken after suffering the type of loss that I did.”
Broner on loss to (Marcos) Maidana: “A lot of critics never took a punch in their lives, but I’m not here to talk about my past fight. I’m still getting a hell of a check even though I’m on the undercard of the fighter who beat me.”
Thoughts On Carlos Molina: “He’s a hell of a fighter. I respect all boxers because it takes a lot to get into that ring. I just hope he’s ready on May 3rd. He’s a top fighter, but I can make the best fighter look like the worst fighter.”
Mike Stafford, Broner’s Trainer: “We’ve come back to Washington, D.C., where Adrien first started training as a pro. We wanted to take it back to the beginning. He’s still the three time world champion in my eyes. Nothing’s changed; we’re just even hungrier now.”
“It was big jump up in weight for him to go from 135 pounds to 147. I know that Paulie (Malignaggi) and (Marcos) Maidana felt his power. He was just a few punches away from taking him out. Adrien is a natural lightweight, but we think we can get a title anywhere from 135 (pounds) to 147. He’s doing what a lot of great fighters like Roy Jones, Jr. and Bernard Hopkins have done by going up and down in weight.”
“Adrien will do well no matter what weight he fights at and he knows that he’s the only one who can beat him, himself.”
Molina’s Thoughts Being a Comeback Victim for Broner: “I know that I’m seen as the underdog. That just motivates me more. I’ve been working extremely hard and I’m going to give it my all.”
Adrien’s Views On Winning a Title in a 4th Weight Class: “Of course, I’ll look to win another title. Right now, though I’m looking this strong guy who’s coming in to take my head off.”
On His Image: “At the end of the day, I’m going to do whatever makes Adrien Broner happy. I talk to my big brother (Mayweather) everyday and he helps me along.”
Closing Statements, Adrien Broner: “I’m not here to talk trash because he doesn’t talk trash. I just want him to be on his “A” game. This is not only a fight for me, but for all of the world. They’re looking for me to take over the game after my big brother retires. I won’t disappoint anyone who wants to see me win or lose.
Carlos Molina: “I’ll just continue to work hard and give a good show.”
Marco Antonio Periban, Opening Statements: “Thanks to Golden Boy Promotions and everyone else involved for getting me this opportunity. I clearly understand that this is a difficult fight, but I will train as hard as I possibly can. I will work to leave with the victory in my hands. J’Leon Love is in my way of fighting for a world title. It’s a fight that I must take advantage of and I cannot lose. I look to make history for Mexico and be the first champion at 168 pounds. You can expect a very focused Marco Antonio Periban.”
J’Leon Love, Opening Statements: “Here I am on another pay per view card. Marco Antonio Periban is a tough fighter and I know he’ll being his “A” game. So will I. I’m putting my heart and determination into his fight. His talent is respected, but we’ll definitely go in and give it our all and come out victorious. It will definitely be a good one.”
Ellerbe’s Thoughts on Love’s 2013 No Decision: “Every fighter goes through adversity in their career. The experience with the (Gabriel) Rosado fight taught him a lot. At that point, he made up his mind that he wanted to take nothing for granted. I personally know of the hard work that he’s put in and it has showed in his last two fights.”
J’Leon on Making Changes: “Everyone needs to eventually grow up. I sat down with Floyd (Mayweather) and Leonard (Ellerbe) and that’s what I needed. I’m still young and I’m still learning. It just opened up my eyes and I don’t ever want to feel that way again.”
“The fight was an eye opener and that’s something that I have to carry with me. I’ve stepped up my game and you’ll see that on May 3rd. It was a wake up call and I know there are lots of fighters who would like to be in the position that I’m in. I’m looking to make a name for myself. I’m from a small town in eastern Michigan and this is something I’ve worked for my whole life.”
M.A. Periban on Love’s Fighting Style: “J’Leon Love is a very dangerous fighter and he has a lot of tactical skills. My training has been focusing on that type of fight.”
On His Lone loss (to Sakio Bika): “He was a very strong fighter. We learned about a strong fighter who is always moving forward and looking for the knockout. I have since learned how to prepare for a fight like that one. I had trouble in sparring. There’s not many sparring partners that are my size in Mexico.”
Love’s Thoughts on (Gabe) Rosado and Periban: “Gabriel Rosado was definitely my toughest fight and it made me think a lot. Periban has a great skill set. He’s tall, strong and rangy. A guy like him can upset a lot of fighters. He’s young and hungry, too. We can’t look past anyone.”
On Not Wearing the Black Hat of Villainy: “I’m just being myself. I don’t want to be Adrien Broner or Floyd Mayweather. I want to be J’Leon Love.”
Leonard Ellerbe, Closing Statements: “It’s going to be a great, must-see card.”
Marc Livitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter (@fightawrita)