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Boxing: Montana Love: from spending 16 months in prison to fighting at Canelo’s evening


Abefore that Canelo Alvarez gets into the ring to face Dmitry Bivol for the light heavyweight title of the World Association (WBA) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas; the evening will also feature the super lightweight bout between the American Montana Love and Mexican Gabriel Valenzuela.

Love, 27, made his professional debut on April 11, 2015 at the Stafford Center in Texas. After beating Willie Miller, as soon as he got out of the ring the sheriff approached him. “Cleveland sent us a warrant for your arrest,” he told him as he was led towards the exit towards the police station. Among the charges brought against him was motorcycle theft, possession of stolen property, misuse of a credit card or missing prescriptions for medication.

“I guess they sent the wrong orders, so they ended up sending me back home and I was on the run from there for a few weeks. They finally caught me. I was in prison for 16 months. After passing 14, they took me to a rehabilitation center but they sent me back to jail because I was never in the place they told me to be. Then I completed the penalty and that was it,” recalls Montana Love, speaking to Talk Sport.

Going to prison was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I’m glad I was there instead of in a coffin

Montana Love

Love grew up on the east side of Cleveland in a suburb with rental housing for America’s poorest families. “All the heroes were the drug dealers and they were all on the streets, including my whole family,” she notes. His father died when he was 3 years old. His mother signed him up to the boxing gym so he could have a routine and get him off the street.

Not at first, but when he saw the lifestyle of Floyd Mayweather Jr, he began to take it more seriously. I wanted to be like him. After turning professional and going through jail, he returned to the ring. The death of his mother in early 2015 (at age 38 from colon cancer) and his time in prison made him realize that he had to make amends.

“Going to prison was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I’m glad I was in prison instead of a coffin. Losing my mother at age 20 made me take life more seriously. I had to get away from the streets, get away from the people I hung out with and the things I did,” said Montana Love.

In the first year of freedom he won the seven fights he played. Last year I fought the evening that hosted the fight between Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley. “A lot of people put Jake down, but what he’s doing for the sport is great. It changed my life,” explains Montana Love.

That night Love defeated former world champion Ivan Baranchyk in the seventh round. “I was the underdog going in there, no one expected me to win. It took me to a new level, beating a top ten fighter, and doing it in Cleveland was unbelievable,” he recalls.

This triumph gave option to sign with Eddie Hearn (Matchroom Boxing). “I’ve always wanted to be with Eddie. Everything he’s told me has come true. So if he tells me the sky is purple right now, I’ll believe him because he’s a man of his word. I want to get to that superstar level so that when we fight Josh Taylor or Mikey Garcia, we are selling ourselves and doing the numbers that Anthony Joshua and Canelo are doing,” he confesses.

Sees it dream big His path to the world crown will first go through his fight against Gabriel Gollaz Valenzuela on the Canelo Alvarez vs. Dmitry Bivol undercard. If he wins, his name already sounds to opt for the super lightweight title, if the current champion, Josh Taylor, decides to vacate his belts.

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