Shakur Stevenson dismissed Edwin de los Santos as “little” after they came face to face for the first time.
Stevenson and De Los Santos on Thursday fight for the vacant WBC lightweight title at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The Dominican Republican became Stevenson’s opponent after a proposed fight with Frank Martin fell through, but it took until little over 48 hours before they are due to fight for them to meet.
Stevenson, who recently moved up from super featherweight and is fighting to win a world title in a third weight division, had expected, as a consequence of watching footage of his 24-year-old opponent fight and also by encountering him on social media, De Los Santos to be considerably bigger.
He instead left Tuesday’s final press conference more confident than ever of victory, having said: “I didn’t expect him to be as small as he was, ‘cause I never seen this dude before. You know, he called me out on social media – this is my first time actually seeing him in person.
“When I see him I realised how short he was and little he is. He didn’t look as big as I thought he was going to be. That’s what it really is about.
“This is his first big fight. Edwin gotta prove himself on Thursday.
“I just get into fight mode. I’m kinda like this regardless. If it was him right there or anybody right there – the nicest guy could have been right there – once I get into that fight mode it’s kill or be killed.
“I told him he was little, so he was kinda ready to show me his six pack. I was letting him know, ‘Nigger, I’m in shape too’. They wanna lift that shit up to show me that he’s in shape but, okay, I’m in shape – I’ve been training for too long. ‘I hear you, bro, but I’ve been in the gym forever.’
“This means the world to me. I’ve been grinding my whole life for these moments. I’m back in the same situation I was before, fighting for another vacant title. I’m just here to do what I got to do. I’m focused. I’m ready. Showtime on Thursday.
“My performance is based on how I feel. I’m performing for myself. I know that if I come in at my best, I will be hard to deal with for everybody.
“He’s a fighter. You can tell that he has a lot of heart. It may work against him on Thursday night. But I definitely respect the fact that he took the fight.”
Stevenson, 26, was also asked about the rumours surrounding a potential fight between Vasyl Lomachenko, who he is desperate to fight, and George Kambosos Jr, and he said: “If it do happen there’s some trifling in that shit ‘cause Lomachenko say he was just taking a year off and I got one more fight left with Top Rank.
“Me and Lomachenko should square off for the last fight. But, once again, I gotta get past Edwin on Thursday, so that’s my focus.
“I don’t know [if I will let that determine my future]. We’ll see. I can’t speak on what they will do. I don’t know. I’m a sit back. Like I said, every option is an option for me, so, whoever wants to talk business can talk business, but Top Rank’s been good to me, so I’m a definitely sit down at the table with them and talk again.”