WBA junior middleweight champion Jose Antonio Rivera (38-4-1, 24 KO's) is not interested in taking the easy road, and his upcoming defence against unbeaten Travis Simms (24-0, 18 KO's) is merely the latest indication that he is only willing to face the toughest challengers out there.
However, while Rivera has been throwing offers to all of the major players in and around his weight-class, his level-headed trainer 'Iceman' John Scully is urging him to stay focused and not look beyond Simms, who, though less experienced, has yet to taste defeat.
In the recent locker, Rivera lost his WBA welterweight title by dropping a wafer-thin decision to slick southpaw Luis Collazo in 2005 but returned to winning ways in May of this year when he moved up to the 154-pound division, seizing his second world title by pitching a shutout over the capable Alejandro Garcia.
Simms himself is no slouch, having held the same strap that Rivera now wears, but vacated after sustaining an injury in 2004. Beyond Simms, there are many very lucrative fights on the table for Rivera, but to let his focus wander could be very costly indeed.
Scully, who is working hard to whip Rivera into the best shape possible, told frankmaloney.com: "Travis Simms is a superb boxer, but what we have in our favour is that Travis is very unrealistic when he is looking at himself.
"He sees himself as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world, and so far he has done nothing to justify that. He's only been ten rounds once, and twelve rounds once, so after a few years out that could hurt him."
Despite Scully's belief that his man will hold the edge come January 6, both fighters have fought Mexican Alejandro Garcia, with Simms handing him a first career defeat by knockout while Rivera could only beat him on points despite flooring him numerous times.
Scully added: "Training is going spectacularly well, and he is in very good condition going into the fight. He's got a conditioning coach who puts him through some very very tough sessions. Whatever day Christmas falls on this year will just be another day for Jose, we'll be doing the same as any other day."
With speculative call outs of such fighters as Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather, and perhaps more realistic targets in Cory Spinks and Roman Karmazin, Rivera has a lot to lose in this fight, but what he could gain could be the kind of life-changing fight that will define his career.