Veteran boxer Martin Murray believed that coronavirus had ruined his career before he got the chance to fight Billy Joe Saunders.
The WBO super middleweight champion arranged a fight with Murray after failing to get his desired match-up with Canelo Alvarez on terms he was willing to entertain.
Murray is now 38, and after failing to convert any of his previous title fights into a win, he is under no illusion that Saunders will be an easy opponent.
“It’s a difficult fight, like all my big fights,” he said.
“Billy Joe offers me something different. He’s kind of like [Sergio] Martinez, obviously younger and slicker.
“I’ve been training for it. I’m ready for it. I’m confident. All the little setbacks I’ve had in the past have been building to this. I feel like it’s my time.”
Despite his age, Murray believes that he is fit enough to compete. Asked if he believes the age difference is important, he said, “I don’t. I look after myself between fights.
“I do a lot of training, eat right. I’m a young 38. I know there’s a big win in me.
“Everyone’s writing me off. There’s no pressure on me. But I know that I rise to the big occasions. You’ll see the best of me.”
Murray suggested that his rival had an easier route to a title than his own career had given him.
“He’s not fought the opposition I’ve had. If I’d had ought the people he’s had fought, I’d have a world title. I’ve done it the hard way.”
Murray also admitted that the coronavirus pandemic had led him to believe that his career may have been brought to a premature end.
“I thought, ‘It’s ruined my career.’” he said.
“I almost called it a day. I thought it could finish my career. I’ve always believed in myself, there’s always been hope, and I thought that it was going to finish my career, and it’s ended up making it.
“It would be nice to finish the year on a high, and for my career I’ve worked for a world title and I’ve been in some lonely places.
“I’d never have believed it but here we are.”
The Saunders-Murray fight is Friday, on Sky Sports in the U.K. and on DAZN in most other parts of the world, including the U.S. Click here to learn more about DAZN in your region.