Ricky Burns believes Nicky Cook's two-year absence from the ring will count against the Londoner when the pair meet in Liverpool next month.
Burns (31-2, 8 KOs) makes the third defence of his WBO super-featherweight title against Cook (30-2, 16 KOs) at the Echo Arena on July 16 in what will only be the challenger's second bout since he lost the belt to Roman Martinez in March 2009.
Following that defeat, Cook moved to Tenerife and did not take part in another professional fight until securing a six-round points victory over Youssef Al Hamidi on the undercard of George Groves' clash with James DeGale in London on May 21.
Burns, meanwhile, overcame Martinez last September to be crowned champion and the Scotsman is confident the returning Cook is not about not threaten his reign.
"Although he boxed a couple of weeks ago, that was his first fight in two years," said Burns.
"He says that he never officially retired - I know he has been in Tenerife and they have got their own gym over there.
"But not being in competitive fights for that length of time ... I never had a chance to see his fight a couple of weeks ago, but I think come fight night, I'm going to have far too much for him."
Asked if he felt Cook's determination to make amends for the Martinez loss might give him an edge, Burns said: "Not at all - I think it is going to go against him.
"Somebody asked him if he could be going into retirement if he loses here, and I think that will be in the back of his mind as well.
"But I'm not worried about that. As long as I go out there and do what I do, there is no chance he is taking that belt off me.
"Whatever happens, Ricky Burns is still going to be the champion.
"I'm going to go out there and be right in his face, set a fast pace right from the start and I think that two-year absence out of the ring is going to play a big factor in the fight."
Cook insists he is fresher for his time in the Canary Islands and ready to reclaim the title.
"I'm absolutely gutted about what happened two years ago but now I have the opportunity to fight for that title again I am going to grab it with both hands," Cook, 31, said.
"I've been chilling out - I moved to Tenerife and I'm based there now.
"I've kept myself in the gym all the time and kept active. I was never retired, I just took time out and when I felt ready to come back and got the hunger back, I did.
"I had quite a time out before I boxed Alex Arthur (to win the WBO belt in 2008) and came back fresh as a daisy.
"Fighters aren't robots - different things work for different people, and when I've had a break, I come back fresher."
The undercard sees Liverpool's Commonwealth light-heavyweight champion Tony Bellew - who had to pull out of a contest with Nathan Cleverly as part of the Groves-Degale event due to weight problems - take on Ovill McKenzie with the vacant British belt also at stake, while Birmingham City fan Frankie Gavin defends his WBO Intercontinental welterweight crown against former Blues player Curtis Woodhouse.
Burns still hopes to follow the Cook fight by facing Mzonke Fana, despite reports suggesting the South African has been stripped of his IBF title.
"Although they are saying he might be stripped of that title, the Ring Magazine belt (also held by Fana) is still there and that is a belt I really want," the 28-year-old said.
"If I can get by Nicky Cook, hopefully that is the next option for me."Tags: Ricky Burns , Nicky Cook , Burns vs Cook , Burns-Cook