Kevin Mitchell admits he will be in the last-chance saloon when he takes on John Murray at Liverpool's Echo Arena on Saturday.
The much-anticipated bout will be Mitchell's first since he was demolished inside three rounds by Australian Michael Katsidis in a fight for the interim WBO lightweight title in May 2010.
The Dagenham fighter paid the price for personal problems that marred his preparations and he embarked on a six-month drinking binge after the defeat.
He has since returned to the gym, though, and now the 26-year-old faces Murray knowing the winner is set to take on WBA champion Brandon Rios - and he is determined to make the most of the opportunity.
"I see this as my last chance for the big-time," Mitchell said.
"That is why I am going to go in there on Saturday and show that I am here to put in a massive, explosive performance. That is why you are going to see me at my best."
Mitchell (31-1, 23 KOs) has been keen to praise the role of his parents in helping him get back on the right track, although he insists he never had thoughts of retirement.
Asked if there had ever been a point where he felt he did not want to carry on as a boxer, Mitchell said: "No, that's madness - never.
"It's the way of life - if you crumble when you have problems like I was having, it shows a weakness in you.
"I've come back and sorted myself out, living back at my mum's house and driving her crazy!
"She's been really good to me. It's like being a kid again, but in terms of training it is perfect.
"You get your rest times, all your food is done for you, you come home and all your training gear is washed and ironed. There are no distractions and it has been the best thing for it."
There has been much talk of how well-matched the battle with Murray (31-0, 18 KOs) will be, but Mitchell doesn't see it that way.
"People keep saying this is a 50-50 fight, but if I had beaten Katsidis by performing the way I should have done, this fight wouldn't even be happening," Mitchell said.
"John is a good fighter, but they would be calling this a mis-match, because I have been fighting at world level and he hasn't.
"Because I have been beaten, they are now doubting me, but I'll show on Saturday it's not a 50-50 fight."
Murray believes Mitchell will be the one trying to keep up with a superior opponent.
"I think I've had tougher fights throughout my career and better wins," Murray, also 26, said.
"You can say Kevin has boxed at a higher class, but he only did that once and got beaten in three rounds.
"I see myself as a step up in class for him and I'll show him why on Saturday night when I knock him out."
Murray - who has held the British and European lightweight belts - feels it should have been him who got the world title shot against Katsidis last year, but the unbeaten Mancunian is confident his time will come.
"I thought I had proved myself to be the number one lightweight in the country, but for whatever reason Kevin got the shot and he got found out," Murray said.
"But I've been working hard for eight years now, chipping away, crawling my way to the top.
"Eventually I will get there and when I do, I'll win that world title."
The vacant WBO Intercontinental title will be up for grabs in the contest, which is the main attraction on the undercard of WBO super-featherweight champion Ricky Burns' fight against Nicky Cook.