Boxer Josh Taylor believes the cracks are beginning to show on opponent Ohara Davies after the pair had to be pulled apart during the official weigh-in.
Having comfortably made the weight, the duo took a last-gasp opportunity to size one another up ahead of what is expected to be an explosive 12-rounder at Glasgow’s Braehead Arena tonight.
However, Londoner Davies was far from impressed by Taylor’s lack of urgency to come together for the customary head-to-head shot and, after a few swift verbal exchanges, the Englishman finally lost his cool.
“He was trying to hurry me up and when we came face to face he said, ‘are you going to run tomorrow?’ Commonwealth super lightweight champion Taylor explained. “But I just told him I am going to take that [Davies’ chin] out. He then said ‘don’t touch me again’ but I did and that’s when he tried to put the head on me.
“I grabbed him by the throat and thought I was going to strangle him! But what his actions showed me is that he’s falling apart, maybe through nerves.
“That gives me confidence and I have never been so relaxed for a fight.
“He’s never been involved in a situation like this where it is all in his favour. He’s always been the better boxer, the strongest ... had the more power. He knows that isn’t the case this time around.”
This was just the latest episode in this long-running saga that has been in full swing ever since the Prestonpans puncher knocked out former Commonwealth champion Dave Ryan at Meadowbank in October.
Headline-maker Davies has become one of the sport’s most controversial figures with his nonsensical approach and run-ins with whoever crosses his path.
“It was him who started this on Twitter after I boxed Dave Ryan and I replied, ‘let’s go’. It’s him who has been doing all the bad-mouthing. He’s been trying to wind me up and hoping I am going to bite but I’m really not bothered,” 26-year-old Taylor said. “That’s his nerves kicking in. I’m nice and calm and so confident. I’ve trained so hard and I’m in great shape, sharp, fit and strong. So I don’t need to talk.
“He’s either getting edgy or trying to have a laugh. But he’s a clown anyway. I just need to stay relaxed and focused.
“He’s going to look silly because I’m in serious shape and have been sparring really well. He’s got to back his words up tonight and he’ll be eating them.”
Aside from all the trash talk that has preceded his latest bout, Taylor appreciates the enormity of what a win this evening will do for his career.
“This fight is exactly the same as any other. Every fight is important as I am always wanting to win,” he said of the clash which will also be broadcast exclusively live by Channel 5. “But this is a massive fight for me, the biggest of my career profile-wise.
“Boxing-wise it’s also massive because if I win it puts me in the top-15 in the world in the WBC [rankings] and I’m knocking on the door for big fights and potentially a mandatory position for [Terence] Crawford and [Julius] Indongo down the line.
“The TV audience is at the back of my mind. It’s probably not until after the event that I’ll sit back and say I was part of that. But right now I’m not thinking about that.
“The Scottish fans are the best in the world and they can give you an extra 10 per cent.”