"This will be the fifth time I beat you."
Junior Fa seized the final chance to lock eyes with Joseph Parker to fire that taunt at his former amateur foe.
Tension was palpable as Parker and Fa squared off one last time before they come to blows at Spark Arena on Saturday night, headlining a card that includes David Nyika's professional debut.
Pre-fight staredowns always set the scene for the fight to follow but Friday's at a packed Headquarters bar in Auckland's viaduct sure added spice to this eagerly anticipated heavyweight contest.
Parker and Fa's tense staredown lingered long after MC Mike Angove told the fighters to face the front and pose for photographs – Parker clenching his jaw tighter, while Fa muttered something not audible for those close at hand.
Asked afterwards what he said to Parker, Fa would only say: "He knows what I said.
"It's good for the people to see. The talk in the build-up is that we're both too nice but both of us know we're going to be hurting each other and that staredown really communicates that.
"It was for both of us to show we mean business."
Fa's willingness to taunt Parker speaks to the underdog's quiet confidence.
"On the inside I know I possess what it takes to win – that's where the confidence comes from, my own self-belief. This is the most important fight I've ever had in my life."
Fa's coach, Doug Viney from City Kickboxing, revealed Fa referenced his amateur record with Parker which was split 2-2.
"Do you want to know what Junior was saying to him? He said 'this is going to be the fifth time I beat you'," Viney told the Herald. "He got ripped off in those fights. The man is confident. That's all you've got to do, create that spark."
Mind games in boxing are nothing new, with Viney liking it to courting the opposite sex.
"It's kind of like you meeting a beautiful girl for the first time – you've got to work up the confidence to ask 'can I buy you a drink'.
"Once you get that ball rolling, you're on fire. Once Junior starts landing on him his confidence is going to keep pouring in."
Viney suggests Fa's optimism stems from those four amateur fights with Parker, and the sense of familiarity that comes with facing a known opponent.
"Usually when we're training it's for someone we don't know personally. This time he's fighting someone he knows so he's very comfortable. All we had to do was get him fit, add a few tweaks to his game plan and he's ready to go."
Parker weighed in almost 10kg lighter - 108.9kg to Fa's 118.1kg - and will confront an 11cm reach disadvantage yet he appears in his usual relaxed, assured pre-fight state despite the pressure attached to being the $1.12 favourite with the bookies.
"He was saying a few things to me during the staredown but because of the noise and because I was focused on being intense I don't know what he said," Parker said.
"You want to show I'm here for business. The staredown is almost the beginning of the fight. People were asking me what he said but I have no idea. I was going to say something but I decided to let my eyes do the talking. I felt like he's ready."
Elements of the unknown add intrigue to this domestic scrap and with the WBO's third (Parker) and fifth ranked fighters facing off, the result carries major ramifications for the unbeaten south Auckland contenders.
Fa (undisclosed surgery) and Parker (dual elbow operations) both went under the knife late last year; they've both been out of the ring for over one year and the disruption caused by postponing the fight by two months may also have an impact.
"When you haven't been in the ring for a year – him longer – there's always going to be ring rust," Parker admits. "I've done over 100 rounds of sparring. That's great, but we'll soon find out how not being in the ring will affect him and me."
Prevailing wisdom is Parker's superior level of opposition, having challenged the likes of Anthony Joshua in Cardiff, will enable him to better handle the occasion and, therefore, assert his strengths to get on the inside and dictate terms.
Fa, though, has done everything he can to counter his comparative lack of bright light experience.
"That's something I'm really looking forward to, how I deal with that," Fa said. "I've tried my hardest to put myself in that position mentally. I go to Spark Arena every now and then just to soak in the atmosphere – visualise and take my mind there so it's not so foreign."
The time for visualisation to turn into action is now.
Tonight will crown the king of New Zealand heavyweight boxing, and chart two potentially contrasting career paths.