Four words that made Anthony Mundine snap
Anthony Mundine landed the first meaningful blow against Jeff Horn ahead of the River City Rumble on Friday night - or so he thought.
In a packed function room at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium in front of a couple of hundred onlookers, The Man broke the ice by grabbing Horn and shoving him backwards as they faced off after completing their weigh-ins.
Mundine's dad Tony had to restrain his son as he looked like taking a second crack at the southpaw - possibly wondering what it would feel like to hit Horn's jaw with his bare knuckles rather than with a boxing glove.
In what the mild mannered Horn will hope is an omen for what's to come tomorrow, he kept his cool as Mundine lost his head. And he wasn't going to flinch when Choc started shadow boxing inches from his face, cheered on by taunts thrown by someone in his entourage.
If Mundine lands as many punches as his team member hurled insults to Horn, he can't lose. But if he only connects as often as someone in the room actually laughed at one of the childish taunts, then his career is going to end on a very sour note.
Right before Mundine snapped, Horn whispered something in his ear. But you'd probably hear much worse at the recent world chess championships.
"I said, 'I hope you're ready,'" Horn told reporters. "He was talking about, 'You're going down tomorrow night, you're going to get a boxing lesson,' whatever he was saying.
"Then I was like, 'I hope you're ready,' and then he must have just cracked it."
While Mundine claimed to have staked his turf with his pre-fight show of aggression, that premature violence has only made Horn more confident.
"It shows me that he's frustrated, he's angry and that's what he's going to become in the fight tomorrow night," Horn said. "He's very on edge and nervous about this fight."
Not so if you ask The Man himself. A typically bullish Mundine has already said this is the best he's ever prepared for a fight and today claimed he's so hungry for victory he's ready to "eat" Horn.
But while he could explain why he was going to win - his speed, his experience, his killer instinct - he couldn't explain the reasoning behind his brain snap.
"I don't know, man. We were just talking s*** to each other," Mundine said. "I saw him in front of my face. I'm like a caged lion … I'm ready to kill. It's kill or be killed.
"I just reacted, that's the way I reacted. I can't say anything more about that. When I'm in a situation where there's confrontation and I feel like my back's against the wall, I'm gonna fight back."
A post-showdown pow-wow with Australian boxing legend Jeff Fenech in the concrete corridors of Suncorp followed, and Horn should be thankful his opponent reached for the upper body rather than stoop to a low blow.
"That's a bit far," Fenech told news.com.au when asked what he thought of Mundine's unprovoked attack on stage. "If it was me I would have kicked him in the balls."
The fight is set at a catchweight of 71kg and Mundine weighed in at 70.25kg while Horn tipped the scales at 70.55kg. As he stripped down and showed some skin, Horn's trainer Glenn Rushton joked with the crowd his star pupil was voted one of the five sexiest men at the 2012 Olympics - where Horn competed for Australia.
We'll let you decide whether that's more or less believable than some of the things that come out of Mundine's mouth, but the wisecrack was emblematic of the Horn camp's quiet confidence.
The 30-year-old was upbeat as he worked the room, chatting and occasionally laughing with supporters and journalists. But there were no smiles from Mundine - not when he hit Horn with a cheap shot, not when he saluted his fans and not when facing the cameras.
Choc was steely eyed and softly spoken during his media commitments, which may reflect his determination to win or be evidence of the tough camp he's put himself through.
The 43-year-old has had the harder preparation, needing to lose weight and while he looked much leaner than normal, he claimed he dropped down easily.
The 43-year-old has had the tougher preparation, needing to drop down and while he looked much leaner than normal, he claimed he cut the weight cut easily.
But Horn isn't a believer, claiming Mundine's brain snap was in part caused by the draining effects of having to shed excess kilos - which he finished this morning with a 20-minute sweat session.
On the other side, Horn said making weight this time has been so easy - because he's used to fighting in lower weight classes - it felt like he has an unfair advantage.
"He might have drained himself a little bit too much, which is why he's acting the way he is," Horn said. "He's very frustrated.
"I did it easily, I did it comfortably, he probably did it hard. I feel strong, I feel normal. I feel like I'm cheating that I don't need to make weight for this one."
Horn is fighting for the first time since losing the welterweight strap he ripped from Manny Pacquiao to American Terence Crawford in June this year. A win will put him on the path towards a future title shot but a loss to a man 13 years his senior has the potential to plunge him into boxing obscurity.