Erik Morales is looking beyond his fight against Danny Garcia, even though some critics feel he is on his way out.
The 35-year-old Mexican will defend his WBC light-welterweight title against the unbeaten American in Houston, Texas, in Saturday night.
Morales has won four world titles in four weight divisions – super-bantamweight, featherweight, super-featherweight and light-welterweight.
Garcia, 24, is looking forward to his first world title bout.
"He's a great fighter. He has made his mark in the sport," Garcia said on Thursday.
"He is a crafty veteran, smart, knows how to fight, how to win. He has had his time to shine. Come Saturday night, there will be a new champion."
Morales, with a record of 52-7, including 36 knockouts, has won four of his five fights since ending a three-year layoff in 2010.
He is eager to prove he has the form to face tougher foes, such as England's Amir Khan, unbeaten American Tim Bradley or elite welterweights.
"Boxing is not just about strength and a few words," Morales said. "To beat a young man, to beat his speed, his dream, his hunger, will show I'm still at the top level.
BIGGER AND BETTER FIGHTS
"My motivation is for bigger and better fights beyond this fight. The word 'loss' does not cross my mind."
The veteran lost an interim title fight to Argentina's Marcos Maidana by majority decision last April, but bounced back in September with a tenth-round stoppage of previously unbeaten countryman Pablo Cesar Cano to claim the vacant WBC belt.
"I'm very excited," Morales said. "I'm well trained and well prepared to fight this young man who is hungry and who dreams of ripping my title away and sending me into retirement.
"I feel rejuvenated. I needed to take some time off to decide what I wanted to do. Now I know. I'm 100 per cent committed to boxing."
The fight was delayed from January so Morales could undergo gallbladder surgery, but he was determined to face Garcia; to test himself against a rising star to satisfy his own questions about his status.
"There are some doubts in my mind," Morales said. "There are some kinds of fights I want to fight but I don't know if I am 100% prepared for those fights. This type of fight will let me know if I am ready."
Garcia, 22-0 with 14 knockouts, is coming off a split-decision victory over compatriot Kendall Holt in Los Angeles last November.
"It has been a long road going from the undercards to the main event and I'm ready to be a champion now. I knew I had a lot of hard work to do and I put that work in," Garcia said.
"You've got to prepare, be smart, use your brain … that's what I'm going to do. I'm in tip-top shape. I always go in there for the knockout. If the knockout does not come, I'm ready to go twelve rounds." Tags: Erik Morales , Danny Garcia , Morales-Garcia , Morales vs Garcia