When Joshua Clottey steps into the ring against WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao on March 13 the Ghanaian will imagine he is fighting someone else.
The 32-year-old said Thursday he had a world of respect for Filipino Pacquiao and liked him personally and so would be fixing his mind on another target as motivation.
"I'm going to fight because of somebody," Clottey told a small cluster of reporters as he ran on a treadmill at Kingsway Gym a few blocks south of the Empire State Building.
"I'm fighting Pacquiao, but I'm fighting somebody else outside the ring. Nobody knows. I'll let everybody know after the fight. It's my secret."
Clottey moved from the treadmill to the ring for some punching practice against a sparring partner.
Looking on from the side, his manager Vinnie Scolpino might have let the cat out of the bag.
"He wants to beat (Pacquiao's trainer) Freddie Roach. That's his motivation," Scolpino said. "He wants to put him in his place. He beats Pacquiao, he puts Freddie in his place, too. Roach says he (Pacquiao) is going to knock him out.
Scolpino said Clottey was offended by the prediction.
The lean yet muscular Clottey worked up a healthy sweat as he moved from the ring to the heavy bag and speed bag before finishing with some calisthenics and stretching.
"I'm in the best shape of my life," said Clottey, a former IBF welterweight champion who will carry a 35-3 record into the bout, including a controversial split decision loss to Miguel Cotto in his last fight.
Pacquiao, named Fighter of the Year in the last two years and Fighter of the Decade by the Boxing Writers Association of America, stopped Cotto in the 12th round in his last fight.
Clottey's big payday clash with Pacquiao (50-3-2) came about when the Filipino's mega-fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr fell through over arguments about dope testing protocols.
The million-dollar-plus purse will be Clottey's biggest.
"This fight is like a miracle," said the Ghanaian, adding that his defensive skills would be a crucial factor in the bout.
"We all know Manny Pacquiao. When he comes, he starts throwing. I'm just ready. My body can take it.
"When he throws on me, I will block him and that will confuse him. He'll throw 30, and I'll throw four. The four will connect. The 30, I'll block most.
"I will wear him down. For sure."
(Editing by Ken Ferris)