BOXING at the highest level is about so much more than just throwing hands and Michael Conlan's head coach, Adam Booth, insists it's been the mental as-well-as physical preparation that will see him crowned IBF featherweight champion on Saturday night.
The West Belfast man is in against Luis Alberto Lopez who can be extremely unpredictable in the ring as he throws from unorthodox angles and can be hard to read.
In many ways, it's hard to prepare for such a challenge as Lopez can fight without pattern, but Booth believes the best way to get ready for a man he described as "an athletic street fighter who has learnt some technique" has been to be mentally ready for anything that comes his way once the bell rings just after 9pm on Saturday.
"It's mental preparation," he insists.
"Aside from pad-work and technique, you have to be mentally ready for that energy and know when to time it, know when to pressure it and know when to walk away from it.
"This is the ultimate level where your ring IQ, the decisions you made and the fractions of a second are the difference between winning and losing moments."
Homecoming SZN 🇮🇪@MickConlan11 | #LopezConlan pic.twitter.com/2gBiHiI2pO— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) May 24, 2023
Fighting in front of the home crowd can bring obvious benefits, but also sometimes be tricky as the road of the crowd can lead to a deviation from the game-plan with the adrenaline flowing.
However, Conlan is well used to fighting on the big stage with the spotlights at their brightest and Booth believes the road to this point will have been of huge benefit on Saturday with Conlan sent out to deliver what they have planned for over the past number of months.
"Mick's fortunate to have experienced that (limelight) so many times so he has to forget all of that (pressure) and just do the job," Booth explained.
"He genuinely knows what he has to do, so he just has to execute it and be ready for all the different moments that will present themselves.
"On fight night, it can be about knowing when to use the emotions and when to not."