Britain’s Kell Brook aims to emulate Sugar Ray Leonard when he challenges middleweight king Gennady Golovkin at London’s O2 on Saturday.
Brook, the IBF welterweight champion, is jumping two weight divisions to take on unbeaten knockout artist Golovkin.
Welterweight great Leonard came out of retirement in 1987 to beat world middleweight champion Marvin Hagler.
“I want to do what Leonard did with Hagler – use my speed, my footwork and box the perfect fight,” said Brook.
“I do fear him. Of course I do. I know he’s a big puncher and that nobody wants to fight him for a reason.
“But the fear is positive because it’s going to make me super-sharp with cat-like reactions.
“You could see the fear in Leonard’s eyes when he was in with Hagler – that’s why he was so sharp and zoomed in.”
Sheffield’s Brook, 30, is unbeaten in 36 professional contests and has made three defences of the IBF welterweight belt he won from American Shawn Porter in 2014.
Kazakhstan’s Golovkin, 34, is unbeaten in 35 pro contests, has 32 knockouts to his name and is thought by some to be the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.
If Brook manages to beat Golovkin it would be an even bigger upset than Leonard’s victory over the fearsome Hagler, who had not lost for 11 years.
However, while some observers have called the fight a mismatch, Brook believes he might be more effective at 160lb than he was at 147lb.
At the final check weigh-in on 3 September, Brook weighed 168lb, five pounds heavier than his rival.
“I’m interested in seeing what I can do at middleweight because I’m not draining myself and gaunt at the weight,” said Brook, one of 14 current British world champions.
“I’m going to be fully hydrated and healthy and bring the speed and the power. I’m excited at how much energy and excitement I’ll be giving to everyone once that bell goes.”
Brook is attempting to succeed where domestic rival Amir Khan failed – Bolton’s Khan jumped two weight divisions to fight then WBC middleweight champion Saul Alvarez in May and was knocked out in six rounds.
Golovkin, whose WBA title is not on the line against Brook, is one of the most avoided boxers in the world – Mexico’s Alvarez chose to vacate his WBC title rather than fight him.