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Boxing: Tough competition? Leo says bring it on

The folks at Mayweather Promotions don’t believe in coddling their contract fighters.

That’s OK, more than OK, with Angelo Leo.

Leo, an Albuquerque native who now lives and trains in Las Vegas, Nev., is scheduled to face the Philippines’ Glenn Porras on Saturday in a scheduled eight-rounder in Vegas at Sam’s Town Casino.

The card is scheduled to be streamed live on the Mayweather Promotions Facebook page, starting at 6 p.m.

Leo (13-0, seven knockouts), a super bantamweight, originally was matched against another Filipino, Lolito Sosona (22-2-4, nine KOs). But Sosona fell out.

“From what I heard, he got sick,” Leo said in a phone interview.

The Mayweather people then reached out to Porras, who based on his record might well provide a tougher test than his countryman. Porras (31-7) has more experience, more power (19 KOs) and unlike Sosona is a southpaw.

None of that concerns Leo. He understood that facing strong opposition was part of the deal when he signed with Mayweather last November.

“That’s exactly what I wanted,” he said. “That’s what you need to do in order to advance in the game. In order to be the best you have to fight the best.

“That’s how you learn. That’s how you grow as a fighter.”

Leo, a right-hander, has never fought a left-hander as a professional, though he did so as an amateur. One of the many advantages attached to training in Las Vegas is the many sparring options the boxing community offers.

“Two times last week I sparred southpaws, so that was good work,” he said. “Just to get familiar with those movements. But, for the most part, we know what to do with southpaws.”

“We,” for Leo, begins with his father, Miguel, and includes longtime Albuquerque trainer Luis Chavez. Both men will be in his corner on Saturday. Mayweather staffers John Sinclair and Steven Cartledge complete the team.

Now a full-time Vegas resident, Leo did spend a couple of days in Albuquerque some two weeks ago and got in some high-altitude conditioning work.

“I ran the Copper Canyon Trail, there in the Sandias,” he said. “That helped me out.”

In boxing, promoters tend to help those who help themselves. Leo and his father moved to Las Vegas last year with no guarantees.

“I didn’t have any assurances,” he said. “It was just pure belief in myself, confidence in myself.”

Working out at the Mayweather gym, Leo caught the eye of members of the staff. Eventually, word got to Floyd Mayweather Jr. himself. The undefeated world champion watched the Albuquerquean and was impressed.

Leo is 3-0 as a Mayweather contract fighter, having beaten three opponents who entered those fights with a combined 43-12 record.

He doesn’t see or hear from Mayweather Jr. often, Leo said, but the feedback he’s gotten is all good.

“I’ve heard some things indirectly through the Mayweather staff,” he said. “He told them I have a really bright future.

“From what I heard, he really likes the way I fight.”

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