Paul Smith reckons his fight with Arthur Abraham on September 27 has all the makings of a classic as the Liverpudlian looks to become a world champion.
Born in Armenia but now based in Germany, the vastly experienced Abraham will have home advantage when he defends his WBO super-middleweight title in Kiel next month, live on Sky Sports.
However, Smith can expect plenty of support in the crowd having reportedly already sold 2,000 tickets, and the 31-year-old is determined to seize his big chance.
He certainly doesn’t expect to have to go looking for his opponent, with the styles of the two fighters being ideally suited for a real toe-to-toe battle.
“I’m expecting the best Arthur Abraham that there has been on the night,” he told Sky Sports News HQ.
“I know what I’m going to bring to it. I know how good I’m going to be and what shape I’m going to be in. With the game plan I have, I think it’s going to be good enough.
“I think the pair of us are going to come out, meet in the centre of the ring and knock seven bells out of each other.
“That is the style of both of us. That is the way we fight. I think it’s going to make for a classic.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn reckons Smith could be catching Abraham at the perfect time, despite the reigning champion having won his last four bouts on points.
However, the 34-year-old has already tasted defeat at the hands of an Englishman, missing out on the vacant WBC strap when on the wrong end of a points decision against Carl Froch back in November of 2010.
“I just feel like this is the perfect time for Paul Smith against Arthur Abraham,” Hearn said.
“Abraham is coming to the back-end of his career – is there still the desire against an opponent like Paul Smith? Can he get himself up for it again, those hard morning runs and long spars?
“Paul Smith can, because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for him.
"He will put everything in to the camp and everything in on the night. Arthur has got to live with that desire.”
Smith is on a four-fight winning streak since being stopped by George Groves at Wembley three years ago, including becoming British champion last summer with a sixth-round stoppage of Tony Dodson in Bolton.