They may not be headlining the show – indeed, they aren’t even the chief support – but Jono Carroll and Deco Geraghty stole the show at the final Mick Conlan Homecoming press conference today in Belfast.
The super featherweight southoaw pair, three-and-a-half years on from their epic four-round war in Dublin, rematch at the SSE Odyssey Arena and, if today is anything to go by, one senses that something special is coming.
While their first fight was an under-the-radar contest that morphed into a modern legend, their meeting on Saturday plays out live on BT Sport and in front of thousands of fans.
Both Dubliners looked to be enjoying the stage and, minutes after their verbal barbs, almost came to blows when Carroll [15(2)-0] put his head in on Geraghty [17(4)-2(1)] who responded with a slap as the pair were being separated.
There had been plenty of back-and-forths at the top table, with Geraghty promising to box his Finglas-Dunshaughlin opponent rathern than being dragged into a war like he was in 2014 which eventually saw his disqualification.
Carroll, who still disputes that referee David Irvine had Geraghty 30-28 up at the time of the fourth-round stoppage, has a different view of their last meeting.
Geraghty outlined how Carroll “is gonna get a boxing lesson.”
“I fought his game last time and I still beat him. The scorecards said it. You’re going to fight my game on Saturday night and we’ll see.”
“I can box, you can’t box. You’re a pressure fighter, that’s all you are.”
“He wasn’t winning that first fight,” stated ‘King Kong’.
“I put up
the second round [on social media] for everyone to see when little Declan Geraghty went like Bambi when I hit him with a right hook. I won that round and then he had a point taken off in the fourth round which would have been an 8-10 round.”
“If you want to go that way, I was winning the fight, you can’t lose when you win the second round and also have an 8-10 round in a four-rounder. The only person who said I lost that fight was Declan Geraghty and all the yes men he has around him.”
“I am looking forward to setting this straight and I won’t be leaving it up to the judges, Declan Geraghty is getting knocked out, simple.”
“It’s not even going to go twelve rounds, it’s going to be an easy enough night for me. I have the gameplan down and Declan is in for a hard night.”
“I am going to box you, I am going to fight you and then I’m going to knock you out. When I beat you, you’re going into journeyman mode.”
Geraghty laughed off Carroll’s stoppage prediction while bringing up the betting odds for the fight which have him a slight favourite,
“You can’t stop traffic, you’ve two stoppages,” blasted ‘Pretty Boy’.
“It’s embarrassing, you’re undefeated, you’re the champion, and you’re still the underdog going into the fight. It’s embarrassing.”
Of course, odds hold no relevance for Carroll, two years the younger, who noted how “this is going to be an easy night’s work, I don’t know what them bookies are thinking.”
“I was 14/1 underdog to win Prizefighter after battering you and I still won that, bookies don’t know anything.”