Eric Molina hopes to emulate his mentor Oliver McCall when he fights Britain’s Anthony Joshua for the IBF heavyweight title in Manchester on Saturday.
McCall upset Briton Lennox Lewis in 1994, knocking him out in the second round to take his world title.
Unbeaten Joshua, 27, is making the second defence of the belt he won in April.
“I always envisaged having a moment like Oliver had against Lewis,” said the 34-year-old American.
“Oliver has meant so much to my career and showed that in the heavyweight division, anything is possible.
“The knockout is the only way I’m going to win and I’ve got nothing to lose. Anthony Joshua and all of Britain will be surprised.”
At the final pre-fight news conference, Joshua said he would make Molina “look like a novice” at the Manchester Arena.
Molina replied: “You have to make me look like a novice, that’s why you got me here. If you slip up for one second, you’ll be dancing.”
However, there was none of the bad blood that coloured Wednesday’s undercard news conference, when Dereck Chisora flipped over a table after exchanging words with his opponent Dillian Whyte.
Molina is a quietly spoken contender from Texas, whose other job is teaching disabled children in his home town of Weslaco.
He lost his first fight as a professional in 2007 but has been beaten only twice in 27 bouts since.
In 2012 he was knocked out in the first round by Chris Arreola, before lasting nine rounds with WBC champion Deontay Wilder last year. In his most recent fight in April, Molina caused an upset by beating Poland’s Tomasz Adamek.
“I was supposed to last two rounds against Wilder, I was supposed to lose to Adamek in Poland, so let people keep talking,” said Molina.
“I believe Wilder is the best heavyweight in the world and the hardest puncher. I want Joshua to prove me wrong. I want to test him, take him to the limit.”
Molina has been friends with McCall for six years and often reminisces about one of the biggest upsets in heavyweight history, when McCall flattened Lewis in two rounds to hand him his first defeat as a professional.
Saturday’s fight will be the first time Rob McCracken is in Joshua’s corner.
McCracken, the performance director of Great Britain’s amateur squad, replaces Tony Sims as Joshua’s main trainer, although Sims remains in the camp.
“The camp has been great, he’s boxing well and he’s punching well,” said McCracken, who led Carl Froch to the super-middleweight world title.
“He’s got a lot of ability, a lot of power and a lot of speed, which nobody talks about. He’ll bring fighters on to shots they don’t see.”
Chief support is former amateur sensation Katie Taylor, who has her second professional fight against Brazil’s Viviane Obenauf.
Chisora challenges for Whyte’s British heavyweight title, while Birmingham’s Kal Yafai fights Luis Concepcion for the Panamanian’s WBA super-flyweight title.
Liverpool’s Callum Smith makes the first defence of his British super-middleweight title against Darwen’s Luke Blackledge.
Bury’s Scott Quigg, last seen losing a super-bantamweight world title unification match against Carl Frampton of Belfast in February, fights at featherweight for the first time, against Mexican Jose Cayetano.
Newcastle’s Hosea Burton defends his British light-heavyweight title against London’s Frank Buglioni, while Cuban heavyweight contender Luiz Ortiz is also in action.
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