By Adrian Warren
Former IBF middleweight boxing champion Sam Soliman is claiming the underdog tag and has already had a win before his bout with unbeaten American Dominic Wade.
Victorian Soliman 41 (44-12,18 KOs) will take on 25-year-old Wade (17-0, 12 KOs) in a battle of world ranked middleweights at a casino in Shelton, Washington on Friday.
It will be Soliman's first fight since losing his title to Jermain Taylor last October, when he was hobbled by a knee injury in the second half of the fight.
Soliman is now ranked fifth by the IBF, while Wade is rated 14th by the WBC and 12th by the WBA.
He scored a victory of sorts on the eve of the bout when his opponent failed to make the weight at the first attempt.
Wade was forced to sweat off some surplus, never a good thing a day before the contest.
Vastly more experienced Soliman has boxed 506 rounds to Wade's 50 and had his first professional fight when the American was only seven years old.
However, Wade is regarded one of the rising stars of the division in what looms as a classic crossroads bout between a fighter who has scaled the pinnacle in Soliman and one who is trying to get there in Wade.
Described as rangy by Soliman, Wade will have significant height and reach advantages.
"It's a good opportunity to be an underdog again because I've been a favourite a few times in the last five or six years," Soliman told AAP.
"He is undefeated as a pro.
"Hopefully it (a win) will help me to regain the IBF title in the next six months."
The IBF title was vacated and then won last weekend by David Lemieux of Canada.
Soliman comes into the bout primed by quality sparring at the famous Wild Card Gym in California and prior to that, working with unbeaten Victorian middleweight Dwight Ritchie.
He is refusing to contemplate whether a loss to Wade might make him consider retiring as, at his age, every loss decreases his chances of earning another title shot.
"I don't think about those things ... it messes with my head," Soliman said.
The fight will be shown live in Australia on Fox Sports.