Belfast pocket battleship Jamie Conlan knows a clinical victory in defence of his WBO Inter-Continental super-flyweight strap at Dublin’s National Stadium this weekend will move him several giant strides closer to the domestic blockbuster he covets with Paul Butler.
A showdown between the mighty atoms would represent the biggest, most lucrative match-up in British 115lb history and the unbeaten Ulsterman certainly isn’t about to shirk the challenge.
‘I’d not only be prepared to come to England to fight Butler for his British title, I’d be prepared to come to Liverpool,’ claims Conlan, 28, who tops Saturday’s BoxNation televised bill against Mexican dangerman Junior Grenados.
‘In fact, that’s my ideal scenario. The right way to win a title is to take the champion’s belt in his own back yard, shut up all his home fans who were baying for your blood. There could be no better feeling.
‘Conlan v Butler is easily the biggest money fight for me and we’ve both said we want it. But it could be built up into something even bigger, particularly if Paul can get back on to winning ways.’
Calm, courteous and cordial, Conlan harbours no animosity to the former IBF bantam boss from Ellesmere Port. He simply believes that, between the ropes, he’ll prove himself the better man.
‘Paul seems a decent down to earth wee guy who tends not to bad mouth people. I think we’d get along. I pray that he keeps winning until we meet,’ says the swarthy moustachioed Conlan, who is known as ‘The Mexican’.
‘We desperately need 50-50 rivalries to generate interest in the smaller weights and Conlan-Butler would be a brilliant match-up for the English and Irish fans. Our styles would gel to deliver a really exciting fight. It would be a real travesty if it fell by the wayside.
‘Obviously Paul’s a good fighter, a former world champion. When I study him, there’s plenty he does very well but I also see lots that I could exploit.
‘When he got stopped in his world title shot against (Zolani) Tete, Paul had no Plan B and I don’t even think the South African is the best in the division, you’d have to give that to the wee Japanese guy (WBO king Naoya Inoue) who wiped out Omar Narvaez last year.
‘That said, Tete was a world class operator who has everything sowed down. The way to beat him would be to get super fit and apply a really high work rate. Zolani thrives on a slow pace. You’d have to break his rhythm and be prepared to soak up a few very hard shots.
‘But I don’t think Butler took a bad beating physically. It was a one punch knockout loss rather than a sustained battering. He was losing the rounds but it was quite competitive. Prior to the spectacular finish, he was just getting out boxed by a better boxer.
‘But you’ve no knowing what the lasting psychological damage might be. It was a very bad knockout. I’ve no idea how it’ll affect him because nobody’s ever managed to knock me out. These things can haunt a boxer and they never recover. It’s happened in the past.’
A multiple All-Ireland champion across the age ranges and now undefeated in 13 as a pro, the Celtic-Mexican is adamant that, if and when they finally lock horns, it’s his arm that shall be raised.
‘I think I’ve got what’s needed to outbox Butler or outfight him,’ he concludes.
‘I’m a huge super-fly and I’d be bigger and a lot stronger than Paul. I’m very confident that I’d win and I’d probably stop him.’