The battle of words has begun ahead of the long-awaited Tony Bellew-David Haye rematch at the O2 in May.
And, the signs are the fight has not come at a better time for the Liverpudlian.
A rematch has been on the cards since the moment Haye sustained an ankle injury in the sixth round of their first encounter last March, bravely continuing before his corner threw the towel in the 11th, only for a December rematch to be called off after the Hayemaker sustained an arm injury in training.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of a rematch rescheduled for May 5, this time minus the fisticuffs which marred a conflab before their first encounter, Bellew revealed the anger he felt at the call off.
He received the news from manager Eddie Hearn, and admits: “I definitely cannot repeat the words to Eddie on that phone.
“I wanted to actually still spar to be honest, even though the fight was off.”
And, whilst he may not have felt that way at the time, the postponement could just prove a blessing in disguise for the Liverpool fighter.
“A lot of thoughts were going through my mind. In all honesty, though, the actual fight wasn’t the first one,” said Bellew.
“The family issues apart from that. It is what is. Injuries do happen in boxing. David has been very unfortunate that it happened to him on a number of occasions.”
That first thought continued to be the sudden death of brother-in-law Ashley Roberts at the age of just 32 following a tragic accident in Cancun.
“It’s horrible. I lost my brother in law and he is gone. Ashley Roberts, 32 years old and he’s gone. It is heart breaking. It puts things into perspective,” The Independent quotes him in October.
“I don’t give a f*** about fighting, I fight because I like fighting. I have a lot of pent up anger and frustration in me,” he added.
Whilst the loss of Roberts has given Bellew a fresh perspective, motivation emerged as a keyword for both boxers at the press conference.
Haye suggested earlier this year this could be his last fight whilst Bellew spoke of retiring after winning their first bout.
But, Bellew warned Haye he would be as motivated as ever.
“I don’t need to motivate myself David. All I need to do is to get home safely. I just have to turn up 100% and get home safely. I have the same goal before the first fight. It may be a different goal for you but it’s the exact same goal for me.”