Neil Sinclair admits his 15-year professional career could be over if he is not successful in the Prizefighter Light-Middleweights at the York Hall in Bethnal Green on Friday.
The Belfast boxer has gone through a renaissance in the last year after two clinical stoppage wins in 2009 but faces favourite Bradley Pryce in his opening Prizefighter bout.
Sinclair, 35, stopped Pryce in the third defence of his British welterweight title in 2003 and regards that win as perhaps the most satisfying of his pro career.
But Welshman Pryce has vowed to ensure there is a different outcome this time, claiming it will be ‘man against old man’ as opposed to ‘man against boy’ like he claims it was in their first encounter.
Sinclair will be trying to do the double on Pryce and will then need to win two more three-round bouts if he is to emulate the success of fellow Belfast boxer Martin Rogan, who won the first Prizefighter in April 2008.
Sinclair believes victory will propel him towards big title fights, but defeat would leave him pondering retirement. “Winning this could open a lot of doors,” said Sinclair, who was forced to pull out of the Prizefighter Welterweights with a back injury in 2008.
“I saw it happen with my mate Martin Rogan. He won the first Prizefighter and then beat the likes of Audley Harrison and won the Commonwelath title and topped the bill at the Odyssey Arena. I will be looking to do the same.
“I had to pull out of the Prizefighter Welterweights because I had a back injury two weeks before, which was very disappointing, so it’s great to get a chance in this again.
“There was talk of a fight between me and John Duddy and it didn’t happen. He’s doing his own thing which is fair enough, and there was also talk of a fight against the European champion Ryan Rhodes. Maybe if I win this it will make that fight happen.
“This is a gamble but it’s one I’ve got to take. I’m not getting any younger and I want to see what I’ve got left. If I can’t do this there’s no point in a European title fight with Ryan.
“I know that next time I lose I might pack it in, but I’m not thinking about losing. I’m not contemplating it but if I was to lose I would have to consider packing up.”
Sinky is just glad to be back in form after admitting he came close to considering retirement after his fortunes nose-dived following his reign as British champion.
He said: “My last two fights have been good and beating Coyle has started a bit of a revival. When I was training for that fight I felt good and it showed in the fight.
“I’m back in Belfast now where I belong training with John Breen and my boxing has got better. Beating Pryce meant I kept the Lonsdale belt because it was my third defence and it was probably the best win of my career.
“But after that I went a wee bit stale, got disheartened with the sport and a part of me wanted to pack it in. But I’m glad I listened to people like John Breen who urged me to carry on. Now things are working out for me at light-middleweight.”