Young contender wins via DQ; Ishe Smith also victorious
By Sean Wippert at ringside in Las Vegas: The co-main event of the evening for Showtime’s card at the Hard Rock hotel and Casino in Las Vegas featured an interesting pair of middleweights. Michigan-born J’Leon Love looked to apply his recent training at Floyd Mayweather’s gym as he faced off against Chicago right hander Ramon “El Dragon” Valenzuela.
The more experienced Love opened the bout with a series of clean, well-placed jabs. The shots seemed to take his opponent off guard. Valenzuela seemed to choose to take the early damage as he attempted to counter the faster Love. This tactic however was not fruitful as he was unable to keep up with Love’s hand speed.
By the third round Valenzuela had turned to trying to muscle Love around in an attempt to get back into the fight. His hard swinging shots at a much more up close and personal range garnered mixed results and was eventually countered by a resurgence of Jabs from Love.
As much as he tried, Valenzuela seemed to have little in the way of solutions to what Love was doing to him. In the seventh round Love came alive, firing a battery of shots that lit up every part of Valenzuela’s frame. The offensive output was so immense that it looked like the fight was moments from ending. This was punctuated at the close of the round when after being told to break a lock and not responding fast enough, Valenzuela was deducted a point by referee Jay Nady.
In the eight and what would prove to be the final round, Love picked up right where he left off in the seventh. He attacked Valenzuela with a torrent of shots, driving his opponent near the ropes before being turned onto them. Then as things neared the point of stoppage yet again, Valenzuela dove beneath Love’s arm and grabbed around both of his legs. He then clenched and appeared to be in the process of trying to sweep Love’s feet out from under him when referee Jay Nady called an immediate stoppage to the fight.
The fight was officially called at the 0:37 mark of the eighth round for “Unsportsmanlike Conduct.” With the unusual win, Love remains undefeated as he improves to 13-0 with 7 knockouts. The loss drops Valenzuela to 7-2 with 1 knockout. While the ending of the fight may have been less than desirable, the outcome was by far and away a well deserved one for Love.
Las Vegas phenom Ishe “Sugar Shay” Smith was in action again as he took on Puerto Rican light middleweight Irving Jose Garcia. Smith came out with a surprising amount of early ferocity, firing a series of strong hooks that connected with the head and body of Garcia. Smith continued to pressure, eventually sending Garcia to the canvas near the half way mark of the round.
As much as the knockdown helped Smith, it also seemed to energize Garcia’s resolve to continue onward. This went a long way to keeping Garcia in the fight as Smith continued his onslaught, paying little mind to his opponents resolve. As the rounds ticked over into the midpoint of the bout, it was clear that Smith was in control.
With the fight entering the second half of the scheduled 10 rounds, the tempo slowed a bit. Even with the change in pace, Smith carried a good offense, adding to his growing lead with more and more shots. This trend continued into the twilight rounds until a last minute flurry by both men in the closing seconds.
When the final bell sounded it was Smith who won in convincing fashion, taking the victory with scores of 99-90, 100-89 and 100-89. With the dominant win, Smith moves to 24-5 with 11 knockouts. The loss drops Garcia to 17-8-3 with 8 knockouts.