Daniel Geale is relishing his underdog status ahead of this weekend's middleweight world title showdown with Miguel Cotto — even down to the champion's demand for a catch weight that will not favour the Australian challenger.
Geale's last foray to New York ended with a third-round knock-out loss to hard-hitting Gennady Golovkin at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan in July last year.
He rebounded with a 12-round decision over Jarrod Fletcher, and brings a 31-3 record, with 16 knock-outs into the bout at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn.
But to get the marquee bout with Puerto Rican superstar Cotto, Geale agreed to give up three precious pounds from the 160-pound (72.57-kilogram) limit and meet Cotto at a catch weight of 157 pounds.
That is decidedly in favor of Cotto, who has spent most of his career fighting at 147 and 140 pounds.
"I'm going to have to go out there and be very convincing, because I'll have everything up against me," said Geale, a former International Boxing Organization, International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association middleweight world champion.
"But I've been in these positions before so I know what I have to do.
"I've been in large fights where I've had whole crowds against me. These sort of fights get me real excited and I've trained really well," Geale added.
"I'm not coming over here to be an opponent."
The 34-year-old Cotto, who puts his World Boxing Council (WBC) middleweight world title on the line, says he is in the best shape of his life after 12 months out of the ring and steady training with a fight at the higher weight limit in view.
"All I did was rest every part of my body. It's healed. I'm fresh, I'm new, and everybody is going to see it this Saturday," he said of the advantage of not fighting since he took the WBC belt with a 10th-round stoppage of Sergio Martinez on June 7 of last year.
He knocked Martinez down four times en route to that win to take his record to 39-4, with 32 wins inside the distance.
"I feel better. I feel rejuvenated. I feel I can beat anyone in boxing," Cotto said.
Even so, Cotto insisted on the catch weight, and he stressed he expects Geale, naturally a big middleweight, to make it.
"Catch weights were our main point to make this fight happen," Cotto said.
"We had a contract at 157 pounds. That's the weight I expect him at."
When Geale's camp grumbled, Cotto recalled that he made a catch weight of 145 pounds when he fought Manny Pacquiao for the welterweight title in 2009.
He did not, however, remind anyone he lost that fight on a 12-round stoppage.
Freddie Roach, who trained Pacquiao for that fight and now also trains Cotto, says by fight time Geale will weigh more in the range of 175 pounds in any case.
"He knows how to read the contract. If he didn't want it, he could have turned it down," Roach said of Geale.
But Geale did not want to bypass a chance to seize another world title, and however he struggles to make the catch weight, he believes he has an edge in that Cotto is looking past him toward a money-spinning bout with Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez later in the year.
"They're definitely looking past me and looking for big-money fights, which is exciting for me," the 34-year-old Tasmanian said.