It was an atypically respectful build-up considering the fighters are Zab Judah and Paulie Malignaggi, but Judah dug in a little bit at Thursday's final press conference ahead of the all-Brooklyn Showtime main event at the Barclays Center on Saturday night.
Zab claimed that his opponent may represent Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, but that he's not "authentically" Brooklyn the way that Judah is.
"I'm the real Brooklyn, New York," Judah stated. "Paulie wasn't born here, he migrated from somewhere else. To me if we were comparing sneakers I'd be Jordans at Foot Locker and he'd be Canal Street, he's not authentic.
"I'm authentic, I'm from here. I'm born and raised here. I feel great because I know we're going to have a Brooklyn champion in myself."
Judah (42-8, 29 KO) is coming off of a loss to Danny Garcia, but he acquitted himself as a still-relevant fighter in that outing, too, battling back from adversity, which hasn't always been the way he's gone when challenged in the past. At 36, Judah's time in the sport is likely pretty limited, and he's looking to become the hometown star at the Barclays Center.
"This is my office. They built this arena for me and on Saturday night I'm going to show the world why," he said. "We're in a gladiator sport. We have to fight to the best of our abilities. People want to see tough fighters with skills. Even though my last fight was a setback, it still got me back here today."
Zab elaborated, "I came up doing this, I probably have more street fights than I have gym sparring sessions. You can ask anyone in my neighborhood, I was fighting anybody. I'm 36-years-old. I've never done anything but box."
He also promised a knockout, and that he will retire Malignaggi from the sport
"This isn't a game for me. People keep saying this fight is friendly but at the end of the day these are the old Roman days. Only thing different is I can't behead him, so I'm going to knock him out. ... I'm going to make sure Paulie's job (as a Showtime commentator) is locked in stone. After this he's going to be a full-time commentator.""
And though Judah has been on bigger stages, and there's no title on the line in this fight, he's looking forward to another main event, especially back home.
"I know that this is a special opportunity for me, it's the opportunity to crown yourself the King of your city," he said. "This is the old Roman days, there can only be one king and I'm taking it back to that. Saturday night, I'm back."