“Hey Montana Love, we can arrest you right now, Cleveland sent warrants here.”
This is how the super lightweight boxer was greeted by the Texas Sheriff immediately after stepping out of the ring following his successful debut as a professional boxer.
Love, 27, grew up in the east side of Cleveland, Ohio, in the projects, a term used to describe subsidized housing for America’s poorest families.
“It was tough,” he told talkSPORT. “The heroes where we grew up were drug dealers and everyone was on the street, including my whole family.
“My mother tried to take me away from it but I was victimized in the street, because I am a hustler at heart.
“I had my first daughter at 16, so I was exposed to a lot of things at a young age.”
As a young child, Love was taken to the boxing gym by his mother to keep him out of trouble and give his life some sort of routine.
At first, he didn’t pay much attention to boxing as a sport, but when he saw the lifestyle that Floyd Mayweather Jr enjoyed, he began to take it more seriously.
Most read in boxing
Eddie Hearn reveals three names Canelo could fight in December in London
Bivol reacts to Klitschko saying he shouldn’t be allowed to fight Canelo
Canelo Alvarez fought top ten undefeated heavyweights and shared ring with Andy Ruiz Jr
Hatton knew after 30 seconds how tough Canelo Alvarez was
Canelo vs Bivol date: UK start time, undercard and how to watch title clash
‘He got a brutal punch’ – Canelo reveals what boxing power he wishes he had
Mayweather Jr is known for his lavish lifestyle and Love saw this as motivation for his own career[/caption]
Love was starting to get his life back on track and turned pro in 2015, but things quickly fell apart.
He explained that he was taken once off the ropes at the Stafford Center in Texas.
“But I guess they sent the wrong warrants so they ended up sending me home and from there I was on the run for a few more weeks and then I got caught by the hunters. premiums.
“I did a total of 16 months in prison. I did 14 months then I went to the halfway house and they sent me back to jail because I manipulated the staff because I was never there so I finished my time and it was all.
Luckily for Love, after his release from prison, he was able to pick up where he left off in terms of his boxing career.
He had stayed in touch with the guys he worked with in his early days and trained in prison and so jumped straight into the ring and had seven fights in the first 12 months after his release.
This momentum allowed Love to progress rapidly in his career to the point that last year he found himself on a Showtime pay-per-view event, with the title Jake Paul against Tyron Woodley.
“I didn’t care who that card belonged to,” Love said. “I just cared about the event as a whole. I knew how important this moment was.
“We don’t really have any big events coming up in our city, so for this to come to Cleveland, Showtime pay-per-view. I just knew I had to be prepared for this moment.
While Love hasn’t personally interacted with Paul, he did express his gratitude for the social media influencer-turned-professional boxer who gave him the chance to perform on the biggest stage.
“A lot of people discredit Jake, but what he does for the sport is amazing. Damn, he changed my life.
On the card, Love fought former world champion Ivan ‘The Beast’ Baranchyk who took Josh Taylor the distance and was involved in the 2020 Fight of the Year with Jose Zepeda which featured eight reversals.
None of this fazed Love, however, as he didn’t even know who Baranchyk was until he accepted the fight.
“They asked me ‘how do you feel about fighting Ivan Baranchyk’ and I didn’t even know who it was, so I said yes because I didn’t care who it was, but I had never seen him fight.”
Love put in a masterful performance to stop Baranchyk in the seventh round and rocket to the front and he is now ranked in the top ten with the IBF.
The win also caught the eye of Matchroom Boxing President Eddie Hearn, who then approached Love to sign him.
“I always wanted to be with Eddie,” Love explained. “I liked the way he handled his fighters. When that moment came, he gave meaning to the deal and everything he told me he was going to do, he kept.
“I’m happy and it’s my house now. Eddie is a great guy and very direct.
“Everything he said came true. So if he tells me the sky is purple right now, I’m going to believe him, because he’s a man of his word.
Now Love is ready for the next step in his career, which begins on Saturday night as he looks to defeat Gabriel Gollaz Valenzuela on Canelo Alvarez’s undercard against Dmitry Bivol.
If he were to pass that test, he looks perfectly set to attempt one of the world titles in the 140-pound division, should current undisputed champion Josh Taylor choose to vacate his belts.
So, keep your eyes open for love in huge matchups in the near future.
talkSPORT bet of the day
talkSPORT Boosted Treble with Sky Bet
Burnley, Crystal Palace and Liverpool have all won (was 6/1) @ 7/1 – CLAIM HERE
Available to all eligible customers. Maximum bet rules apply. The T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org. 18+