Fighting on a major network in front of a worldwide audience might be unnerving for someone who doesn’t know any better, or someone who has never faced the music on boxing’s biggest stage.
Vladine Biosse (15-2-2, 7 KOs) actually looks forward to the pressure of the bright lights and adoring eyes. It’s brought out the best in the Providence, R.I., southpaw, whether it’s the two big wins he scored early in his career on ESPN2, or his showcase victory over former world-rated contender and hometown rival Joey Spina, a fight few thought he had a chance to win.
This Friday, Biosse will get another opportunity to shine in front of millions when he faces his toughest test to date against undefeated Michigan super middleweight J’Leon Love (16-0, 9 KOs) in the 10-round main event of Showtime’s ShoBox: The Next Generation telecast at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, N.Y., presented by Mayweather Promotions.
“This is the best,” Biosse said. “This is where I want to be. A fight like this puts you on the pedestal. The network is saying, ‘Look, we think you belong here, so show us you belong here.’
“The chance to do that with millions watching is awesome. This is what I’ve been working for my entire athletic career, whether it’s boxing or football.”
The 31-year-old Biosse, born in Cape Verde, is what the boxing world would consider a late bloomer. He originally played soccer and football as a standout athlete at Hope High School in Providence and went on to play college football at the University of Rhode Island before a knee injury ended his career. He soon took up boxing and began his professional career at the age of 27 following a short run in the amateurs.
He rose through the rankings quickly, winning his first six fights – four by knockout – before showcasing his talents on an ESPN Friday Night Fights undercard in 2010, dazzling the viewing audience with a dominant win over Joey McCreedy. Biosse ran his record to 10-0 before another date on FNF, this time knocking out veteran journeyman Tim Connors in the fifth round.
The pressure doesn’t faze him; facing Spina as the prohibitive underdog in 2012, Biosse pieced together what many still consider his most impressive performance, out-boxing the veteran slugger to win the fight decisively on all three scorecards.
While Love presents a much more formidable challenge, the sheer thrill of fighting in front of a worldwide audience might be enough to push Biosse to new heights.
“Some people get jitters and they’re itching and scratching before a big fight. I get excited,” Biosse said. “It brings out the best in me knowing I’m about to face a test like this.”
The only blemish on Love’s record is a no contest against Gabriel Rosado in May in which his split-decision win was later overturned after Love tested positive for a banned diuretic. He returned in December to face former world-title challenger Lajuan Simon and won by sixth-round knockout.
“He’s a great boxer, and I take nothing away from him, but that’s what I see him as – a boxer,” Biosse said of Love. “If you put pressure on him, he folds. That’s what I’m looking to do.”
Biosse hasn’t fought since July when he and fellow Rhode Islander Rich Gingras battled to a majority draw. His last win was in May by unanimous decision against Philadelphia veteran Latif Mundy. A win Friday against the unbeaten Love would undoubtedly put Biosse in the conversation among the sport’s rising super middleweights.
The payday is certainly as appetizing as the opportunity, but Biosse isn’t making the jump just to cash a lucrative paycheck. He’s coming to win, no matter the odds.
“I could be making money anywhere else. I’m not one of these guys running around the neighborhood broke wondering whether I’m coming or going,” he said. “I’m not doing this because I need a few dollars. I’m alright. My life is good.
“This is a great opportunity for my career and to showcase my talents at the highest level.”
Biosse is the second fighter promoted by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports to fight the main event on Showtime in as many weeks; last Friday, Philadelphia’s Hank Lundy dominated in a unanimous decision win over Angelo Santana on ShoBox: The Next Generation.