DANIEL Geale will be drawing inspiration from a legendary moment in Australian boxing when he steps into an American ring for the first time today.
The Launceston middleweight is putting his IBF world title on the line against confident Brit Darren Barker at Atlantic City's Revel Resort.
But just a short distance away is Trump Plaza Convention Centre which witnessed another Anglo-Australian boxing showdown 24 years ago.
Australian light heavyweight Jeff Harding had less than a month to prepare for his 1989 WBC world championship fight with Dennis Andries, but landed the belt with an emotion-charged final round stoppage.
Geale openly admits he is using Harding's upset victory as motivation.
``I think that's a fight that all Australian boxing fans remember very fondly,'' Geale said.
``For me especially, being here in Atlantic City, it's something I take a lot of motivation from. I like to take little bits and pieces from the styles and the stories of lots of boxers from the past, and definitely Jeff Harding is one of those.
``It was just an amazing fight and to dig deep and finish over the top of him like he did was just a great effort.''
In contrast to the underdog Harding, Geale is a firm favourite with bookies if not the general sporting public.
``On the world stage I think I'm always the underdog really,'' said the Sydney-based 32-year-old.
``Over here I don't think they expect me to win, or even know that much about me. Barker's fought here before and they know about him, but they probably don't rate me yet.
``In the interviews I've done over here though, those that have watched my fights say they're impressed with my work-rate and they all mention that Aussie fighting spirit that I showed in fights like against [Germans Sebastian] Sylvester and [Felix] Sturm. That's the never-give-up attitude that Harding showed against Andries, and that's what I want to show again against Barker.''
The Londoner has several key advantages in what will be Geale's fifth title defence.
A year younger and 6cm taller, Barker has previous experience of fighting in the US having suffered the only loss of his pro career, against Argentine Sergio Martinez, also in Atlantic City, two years ago.
Geale, who also has just a solitary loss on his pro record, has twice won world title fights against Germans on their own turf.
Both top-ranked middleweights in their homelands with nine-year pro careers, Geale has the edge on workrate and stamina but accuracy favours Barker, who lands significantly more of his punches.
Barker has certainly been talking tough throughout the week, constantly repeating the mantra ``now is my time'' and insisting he is superior to Geale in all aspects.
``I feel that I'm better than him, I'm stronger than him and I punch harder than him. I just truly believe I'll win the fight,'' he said.
Main Event's Ben Damon said Geale is ``on the cusp of boxing superstardom''.
``Should he prevail, a re-match with Sturm looms as his mandatory defence, before the enticing possibility of a middleweight unification bout back in the US,'' Damon said.
While the former Brooks High student isn't thinking beyond tomorrow, he's happy to look back nearly a quarter of a century.
``He underrates me probably, but they all underrate me. I'm used to that, and to be honest, I like it. It motivates me to prove them all wrong,'' Geale said.
``I'm going to go out there and work as hard as I can and never give up. Just like Jeff Harding did here all those years ago I'm going to call on that Australian fighting spirit and if you watch the fight you'll see something special I'm sure.''