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Mayweather vs. Maidana Undercard: Preview and Prediction for Love vs. Periban

Briggs SeekinsFeatured Columnist IVOctober 14, 2016

Mayweather vs. Maidana Undercard: Preview and Prediction for Love vs. Periban

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    On the Floyd Mayweather vs. Marcos Maidana pay-per-view on Saturday night, super middleweight contenders J'Leon Love and Marco Antonio Periban will face off. Love is unbeaten in his career, and Periban has lost just once by majority decision in a world title fight with Sakio Bika.

    The 168-pound division needs fresh blood, so the winner of this high-profile encounter could be well-positioned moving forward. This is one of the biggest boxing weekends of the year, so expect both Periban and Love to show up ready to fight.

Tale of the Tape

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    USA TODAY Sports
    Per Boxrec      J'Leon Love     Marco Antonio Periban
    Record:     17-0, 10 KOs     20-1-1, 13 KOs
    Height:      5'10"      6'1" 
    Reach:      Unlisted       77.5"
    Weight:      168 lbs     168 lbs 
    Age:      26      29 
    Stance:     Orthodox      Orthodox 
    Hometown:      Dearborn, Michigan      Mexico City, Distrito Federal 
    Rounds:      89      104

    J'Leon Love was a very big middleweight and has looked more comfortable since moving up. Marco Antonio Periban is a large super middleweight and will almost certainly be the longest fighter that Love has faced.

    Periban is a few years older than Love and has slightly more experience, both in terms of fights and in terms of quality of opposition.

    While neither of these fighters has eye-popping KO numbers, they both have enough pop to force an opponent to respect them in the ring.

Main Storylines

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    USA TODAY Sports

    J'Leon Love is one of the most celebrated prospects in Floyd Mayweather's Money Team stable. He had a very nice amateur career before signing with his fellow Michigan native. 

    This will be his second high-profile fight on a Mayweather pay-per-view in a year. Last May he fought Gabriel Rosado on the Mayweather vs. Guerrero pay-per-view, winning a contested split decision that was later changed to a no-contest when Love tested positive for a banned diuretic.

    I thought the journeyman Rosado got robbed in that fight, but Love has rebounded and looked decent since. He served a six-month suspension and moved up to super middleweight, where he's recorded stoppages of Lajuan Simon and Vladine Biosse.

    Marco Antonio Periban is one of the top-rated fighters from Mexico above the middleweight division. He's a large and rugged 168-pounder who makes exciting fights.

    Last June he dropped a spirited majority decision to the tough and experienced Sakio Bika when challenging for the vacant WBC title. Last September he drew with then-unbeaten Badou Jack.

    The winner of this fight will be well-positioned going forward. A victory over Love should be enough to earn Periban a rematch with Bika. A win over Periban could earn Love his own title shot.

Strengths

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    J'Leon Love has very quick hands. He is an athletic fighter with a good amateur background. Since he teamed up with elite trainer Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, his balance and tactical movement have shown signs of improvement.

    In his last two fights, he has shown smart investment in the body attack.

    Marco Antonio Periban is a large, physical super middleweight who throws a lot of punches. He is good at covering up and returning quickly. 

    He held his own with Sakio Bika, one of the division's roughest customers. He's a durable and relentless pressure fighter.  

Weaknesses

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    J'Leon Love doesn't always sit down on his punches and deliver them with authority. He punches with accuracy and busts opponents open at times, but he's had trouble discouraging fighters like Gabriel Rosado and Vladine Biosse. 

    Love had real problems handling Rosado's pressure and volume, staying covered up and defensive for too much of the fight to earn the win by my scoring. Periban is a similar fighter to Rosado but two divisions bigger. 

    Marco Antonio Periban comes forward in a wide-open style, leaving a lot of space for an opponent to land on him. He has a bad habit of lunging with his punches. At times when he throws his overhand right, his back foot comes completely off the ground. 

    A quick and athletic boxer like Love should be able to exploit this kind of reckless aggression. 

J'Leon Love Will Win If...

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    Isaac Brekken

    J'Leon Love needs to use smart movement to win this fight. He has to move back and to the right behind his jab and then stop quick and catch Periban following him with the short right hand.

    He should also concentrate on attacking his opponent's body early. He'll have a better chance at checking Periban's pressure if he can slow him down by punishing his body. This will pay dividends late in the fight.

    He should be looking to catch Periban lunging with his overhand right so he can slip it and hammer him to the rib cage with a counter left hook. Then he should look to pivot on his lead foot and catch Periban with a quick cross-hook combination before circling away behind his jab.

    Love has quick hands and feet and accurate punching. If he can avoid getting swarmed, he'll have a good shot at winning this fight.

Marco Antonio Periban Will Win If...

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    The big challenge for Marco Antonio Periban is going to be to cut off the ring on J'Leon Love instead of following him around like a charging bull. He's the longer fighter, so when Love looks to slide away from him, he has to step with him, not charge directly at him. 

    He has to keep Love in front of him. He should match Love's own jab, then step with him and drop level to hammer Love in the body. 

    Love is the quicker fighter, so at times Periban will need to focus on timing Love by covering up and firing back. But when he throws, Periban should throw in bunches and try to force his opponent to keep his own hands at home and on the defensive.

    Anytime Periban can get Love covering up or moving backward, he should unleash his aggression. Periban's key to victory is to make this a rough, high-volume brawl. But he should wait until the right moment to do it and not simply wade forward. 

Prediction

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    This is a good matchup for these two fighters at this point in their careers. Each man presents some definite problems for the other, and the winner should have to elevate his game a little bit to pull off a victory. 

    As I noted earlier, I thought J'Leon Love lost to Gabriel Rosado a year ago. Rosado is a career light middleweight who was meeting Love at 160. 

    I think 168 is actually a better weight for Love, and he has looked better since his no-contest with Rosado against limited but rugged opponents in Lajuan Simon and Vladine Biosse. But Marco Antonio Periban is a better fighter than both of them. 

    Periban showed some holes against Sakio Bika last year, and a talented boxer like Love might be able to exploit them. But he also proved he is a cunning, hard-nosed brawler. And ultimately, I think Love will have too much trouble with that. 

    I think Periban wins this fight by bruising decision. Love will have his moments, but Periban will beat him up in the later rounds.

    It should set Periban up for some exciting fights in the future. I'd like to see him in a rematch with Bika. I also think he'd be interesting matched up with Anthony Dirrell. 

    If I'm wrong and Love wins, Dirrell and Bika would also be at the top of my list of opponents for him. 

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