Gary Cully [9(4)-0] believes if Joe Fitzpatrick [10(7)-0] had of been a bit more patient or even a bit braver in opponent choice he COULD have been a dangerous opponent.
The Kildare and Belfast duo compete in the first Irish title fight of the new decade at the Ulster Hall on February 1 and in what is possibly the most eagerly anticipated green strap scarp for a decade.
Most agree the #MTKFightNight hosted clash is a hard to call genuine 50/50 affair between two talents with a top end future in the sport.
However, ‘The Diva’ believes it would have been much harder to pick a winner if his opponent had of found time to have had a tough fight.
Since returning from his sabbatical the Mac man has accounted for neighbour turned rival turned sparring partner, Stephen Webb and then notably tough journey man Iago Barros.
Both are solid return to the game wins and one yielded the a BUI Celtic title, but Cully argues neither are enough to ensure Fitzpatrick is ready for him.
“I think this fight is just one step to soon for him. I think if he had of come off the lay off and had a good solid eight rounder then he would have been a really good opponent for me,” Cully says with a knowing smirk.
“A round and a half against Webb and four rounds against journey man? I don’t think is enough preparation for me. I feel like he is one fight away from being a dangerous opponent. He asked for the fight too soon. “
The intimation seems to be that ‘The Dragon’ hasn’t had enough rounds put in of late.
The Naas fighter certainly didn’t question his February 1st opponent’s talent.
Indeed, Cully admits his fellow southpaw is the most talented fighter he has faced and claims the Ulster Hall hosted Irish title fight is a meeting of the two best lightweights in Ireland.
“He is the best I have faced that’s a given and I can’t argue with anyone who says this is a fight between the two best lightweights in Ireland, that certainly is the case.”
When ‘The Diva’ bigs up his rival he does so in terms of natural talent. Interestingly he believes Renaldo Garido which injury prevented him from facing in the Summer of last year would have been a tougher fight.
“I think Garrido over eight rounds would be tougher in terms of he would be on top of you for every minute of every round and you’d have to deal with that.
“Now I don’t know how Joe is going to approach this fight or whether he has been training for that kind of volume. I heard he has been and hopefully that is the case, but Garrido would have been tougher.
“Now technical wise, skills wise, amateur pedigree and thinking wise of course Joe is the best opponent for me so far,” he adds before claiming he can adapt to anything Fitzpatrick brings to the fight.
“I always think on my feet and think that is what it about. We have a game plan going in, but things can change on the night. What ever he brings I’ll adapt to. “