“I’m going to knock you out in two days’ time. Be prepared.”
Chris Eubank Jr’s message to Liam Smith at their final press conference on Thursday was simple.
Smith’s response was just as direct. He predicted: “I’d love to make a statement and stop him, but a win at any means necessary is the aim.
“It’s just the win that matters regardless.”
The two will fight this Saturday at the AO Arena in Manchester, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
The press conference itself was laced with venom, with tempers fraying as time ticks down to the big fight.
Both believe their future careers are on the line in this contest, expecting the loser of the bout to see their hopes of a world title fight snuffed out.
“I’ve always wanted to win this fight by knockout, the fact that Liam is being a child up here is giving me extra incentive,” Eubank said.
“I’m cutting weight right now, so I’m at a good solid 44-45 per cent right now, but I’ll be a strong 50 per cent on the night and that will be more than enough to take care of the man on my left.”
“Nobody believes him,” Smith replied. “That’s Chris being Chris.”
The public press conference took a nastier turn as they veered into insults and derogatory language.
Afterwards Smith did apologise. He said: “We’re two fighters at the very end of camp now. We’re both cutting weight and we probably both crossed the line with some of the language we said.”
Their final face-off before Friday’s weigh-in was tense, Smith stepping close as they stared each other down but any further remarks were quiet and not for public consumption.
Eubank told Sky Sports: “Liam has taken the bait for sure. I may even have taken a little bit of bait in this one. He tried to bring it so we put him in his place. There’s bad blood now so the fight’s going to be very fun to watch.”
He warned the bout itself is going to be “absolutely” ferocious.
“It can’t be anything but,” Eubank said. “You’ve got two guys who are ready and willing to go to war. We don’t take a backwards step so I can’t wait to get in there.”
The fighters weigh in tomorrow
Eubank said: “The last few days of weight-cutting are always hard. You never really feel great. But as far as weight cutting goes, I feel as good as I could be. We’re going to do it in a responsible and good fashion and we’re going to be full of energy on the night 100 per cent.
“At this stage of my career, 33-years-old, every fight is do or die. Every fight is a must-win and a must-win in devastating fashion. I’ve got to make statements. I can’t be having flat performances. I can’t be coasting, I can’t be scraping victories. I need to be setting the world on fire right now, because I’m not getting any younger.
“I need these world titles and you need to beat these guys in devastating fashion to be able to challenge for world titles. So that’s what we’re going to be doing on Saturday.
“It’ll be up there [with the best wins of his career]. A former world champion. He’s on a great win streak at the moment, as am I. Two of the biggest names in British boxing going head to head in Manchester what more do you need?”
Liam Smith said: “It will feel like home for me on Saturday night. I’ve won my world title here, I’ve defended it there, I defended my British title there, I’ve had a number of fights there and I’m unbeaten there Chris isn’t. This arena is a good omen for me.
“We’re two polar opposites. We’ll never get along outside boxing.
“Anyone who loses now, it’s a long, long road back at 33, 34. You haven’t got three or four years to rebuild or even two years to rebuild. We’re not at the age where we can rebuild ourselves.
“Big fights come in between that but my goal, I’m still in boxing to be a two-time world champion and what better way to do that than to be a two-time world champion and a two-weight world champion.”