Daniel Geale stood nose-to-nose with Gennady Golovkin on a stage inside Madison Square Garden, looked deep into the Kazakh champion’s eyes and then reached into his soul.
Geale was searching for a crack, a seed of doubt or sliver of fear in the intimidating Golovkin.
The Tasmanian found something.
“There were a few little things I saw in his eyes,” Geale, unwilling to reveal what it was, told AAP shortly after the confrontation.
“I’ll make sure I bring it out when we meet in the ring.”
The confrontation came at Friday’s weigh-in when for about 10 seconds the fighters stood centimetres apart while posing for photographers.
It was an event watched by about 200 media members and fans deep in the bowels of the iconic Manhattan indoor stadium where boxing’s greats have fought, including Joe Frazier’s epic 15-round “Fight of the Century” victory over Muhammad Ali in 1971.
Golovkin is the short-priced favourite to not only defeat Geale and retain his WBA and IBO middleweight belts at Saturday’s (Sunday 12.30pm AEST) much-anticipated bout, but make the Australian his latest knockout victim.
The undefeated Golovkin hits so hard he has knocked out 26 of his 29 victims and some of boxing’s elite, like Julio Jesus Chavez Jr, have refused to fight him.
Geale and his trainer Graham Shaw have devised a plan to do what almost 400 other amateur and professional fighters have failed to do – avoid Golovkin’s heavy hands and inflict defeat on the champion.
“If you give him an easy target to hit he loves that and will hurt you,” Geale said.
“My job is to not make that easy for him.”
If Golovkin does have a weakness it is he has never had to fight 12 rounds because his opponents rarely stay on their feet.
The elusive Geale has won nine of his past 11 fights by reaching the 12th round, including his 2013 unanimous decision victory against Anthony Mundine.
Golovkin and his trainer, Abel Sanchez, knowing that bigger opponents and huge money fights await if they get past Geale, say they would not mind if the bout goes to the scorecards.
“If it goes 12 rounds it will be OK for me,” Golovkin, who was born in the Kazakhstan coal mining city of Karaganda, said.
Endurance over 12 rounds against a workman like Geale is one potential weakness for Golovkin.
Another is he is looking past Geale.
While Golovkin initially dismissed questions about future opponents, he did admit he has a plan to unify the middleweight division.
“There’s four champions – Miguel Cotto (WBC), Peter Quillan (WBO) and the Australian guy Sam Soliman (IBF),” Golovkin said.
“I need a unification fight.
“For me it is very important to know who is the best in the world.”
Geale and Golovkin did meet once before, as amateurs in Osaka, Japan, in 2002 in the gold medal bout at the East Asian Games.
While details are fuzzy with Geale and Golovkin, they agree it was the Kazakh who won on points.
Geale says at the time he was green because of a lack of top international competition and it was that loss that inspired him to reach the heights he now enjoys.
Just how high Geale goes will depend if he can elude Glovkin’s fists of dynamite.
Birthplace: Karaganda, Kazakhstan
Pro Record: 29 wins (26 knockouts)
World Titles: WBA and IBO middleweight
Birthplace: Launceston, Tasmania.
Pro record: 30 wins (KO 16), two losses
World Titles: Former WBA and IBF middleweight champion