The three-time continental ring king had twice previously agreed to put his title on the line against local lad Carl Frampton, but produced sick notes on both occasions and pulled out last minute.
The fighter, who knocked out Bernard Dunne in just 86 seconds back in 2007, took exception to questions regarding his previous absences in a heated meeting with the press yesterday.
The Spaniard explained he is in a much better place having teamed up with arguably the world’s greatest middleweight, Sergio Martinez, and said he won’t go missing in action in the Odyssey Arena tomorrow night, promising to knock out Frampton, a fighter he believes has yet to face a real test in his 15-fight career.
“I am here now. It wasn’t my fault I wasn’t here the last time. I am here now. I never have been scared. I am not afraid like they try to make out,” said Martinez with the blue belt that once kept up Bernard Dunne and Willie Casey’s shorts up draped proudly over his shoulder.
“I am very well prepared. I have come to fight and there will only be one outcome, I will win. I have come here to shut Frampton’s mouth once and for all. I hope come Saturday he comes to box and fight and not to run and hide. He will try and run because Carl and his team know I am a lot stronger than anyone he has ever faced. The Irish boxing fans also know that. Carl has only fought bodies have just fell on the floor. Carl Frampton is not a good boxer.”
Considering Martinez’s previous pullouts, Frampton, who collected the IBWA Irish Boxer of the Year award on Wednesday, doesn’t believe the champion has earned the right to shoot his mouth off.
He still questioned whether Martinez would make it to the ring tomorrow for a bout promoter Eddie Hearn claims will double up as a world title eliminator.
“He has made quite a few bold statements over the last few weeks, but he seems to forget he pulled out on me twice,” said Frampton. “This time it looks like he has shown up, but he isn’t in the ring in front of me yet, until that happens I will be a bit dubious.
“He should know that European title he has is like his hair — he is losing it. We will see how strong and brave he is when he gets hit by me.”
The super bantamweight European title is not the only strap on the line in Belfast tomorrow. Belfast fan favourite Martin Lindsay will challenge Lee Selby, another fighter who pulled out of a scheduled bout last minute last September, for the British title he lost to John Simpson in 2010.
The 30-year-old admits he has been surprised by the rise of the Welsh super featherweight over the last 14 months and accepts he goes into the fight as underdog.
“He did kind of come out of nowhere, but he is the champion now and has kept the belt by knocking out anyone that came his way. People have me down as underdog and that’s fine. It is less pressure for me and I know I will beat him on Saturday,” said Lindsay.
Another fighter looking to cause an upset on the bumper Matchroom card is Anthony Fitzgerald. The Dubliner takes on Limerick’s Andy Lee in a mouthwatering all-Irish contest full of confidence. “People should ready themselves for a shock. I am ready to upset the apple cart,” said Fitzgerald.
Jamie Conlan will challenge for an IBF super flyweight Inter Continental belt on the card, while Martin Rogan, Daniel McShane and Tommy Tolan will also make an appearance.