WBO middleweight champion Oscar de la Hoya claims he faces injury or even death when he fights Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas on 18 September.
The "Golden Boy" is the biggest draw in boxing, but Hopkins, who has not lost since 1993, is being tipped to prevail.
"I'm always favoured to win, but for the first time in my career, there is no pressure at all," De La Hoya said.
"It's the fight of my life because he could end my life - no-one wanted me to take this fight, even my own people."
But De la Hoya added: "I love what I do. I love to raise to the occasion and prove everybody wrong.
"If I don't work hard, he'll knock me out. I don't want to be knocked out or to be the laughing stock of the world."
All four major middleweight belts - De la Hoya's WBO belt as well as Hopkins' WBC, WBA and IBF crowns will be at stake at Las Vegas' MGM Grand.
And, with some comparing the clash to Sugar Ray Leonard v Marvin Hagler in 1987, Hopkins is revelling in the hype.
"You always want to put yourself in position for history," Hopkins said.
"This is very, very rare to be at this level."
De La Hoya, 31, could earn up to £17m from the fight, while 39-year-old Hopkins said he'll earn around £6m.
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Published: 2004/06/30 14:58:42 GMT
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