Steve Molitor says he will welcome any hostility coming his way at the Odyssey Arena tomorrow night when he challenges Carl Frampton for the Commonwealth super-bantamweight title.
The two-time IBF World champion revealed how the pain caused by his mother walking out on the family gave him a cold determination to rise to boxing’s summit.
“My mum walked out on me when I was 16, she wanted to go and live her life somewhere else.. it was hard to take, my dad was working two jobs. It built something inside me that people just don’t give a f***. It numbed my feelings,” said 32-year-old Molitor.
“I had friends and girlfriends but if they were there one day and not the next I didn’t care, I didn’t care about anything. I just trained and boxed... so when people boo or cheer against me that’s fine. It’s nothing to me, doesn’t effect me, not ever. My last fight 17,000 people were screaming against me and I won.
“What my mum did changed me, she’s irrelevant to me but it also enhanced the love I have for my family, my wife Tifanny and my children.
“I love my family and my friends. I’d die for my friends and family.”
The former IBF champion also has a deep love for ring combat, winning his first World title in 2006 with a blistering stoppage of England’s Michael Hunter.
Five successful defences were followed by defeat to the exceptional Celestino Caballero but he then regained the title in 2010.
Having struggled to retain the IBF title against Jason Booth, Molitor then lost it to the man he had beaten to win the belt, Takalani Ndlovu.
Hence, some have started to believe that his best days are behind him but he firmly disagrees and is eager to prove it against Frampton.
“This is a make or break fight for both of us — because if I’m going to be a three-time world champion I have to beat Carl and if he is going to be world champion then he has to beat me,” said Molitor.
“Against Booth there were a lot of problems behind the scenes that people don’t know about.
“I got to Toronto airport and I was throwing up. I had a bad flu all week but I still got the job done.
“On Saturday night there will be no excuses because the real Steve Molitor will show up and the winners are going to be the Belfast fans because it’s going to be a great fight.
“It will be what I want it to be, because of my height and reach and amazing footwork I will make things happen.
“He has never fought a Steve Molitor, not even close, I respect him because he has the heart to step up and fight me. You can teach skill, head movement but you can’t teach heart.
“I feel his style suits me, I saw him against Hirales, he comes forward which is good for me... I’ve been a counterpuncher my whole career.”