GOLDEN Boy apprentice Anthony Ogogo is taking a “risk” by sharing a ring with Greg O’Neil.
That was the warning from trainer Peter Cope after the announcement that the Hartlepool and Horden boxer would be Ogogo’s fifth opponent as a professional.
On paper, the six-rounder in Glasgow a week on Saturday looks a formality for the Olympic bronze medallists, who is not only unbeaten as a pro but managed by 10-time world champion, Oscar De La Hoya.
But Cope says Golden Boy Promotions have not taken on a “walkover” for their 25-year-old prospect.
“I was surprised that Greg got the fight,” Cope told SportMail.
“I think they’ve looked at his record and thought ‘three wins out of four isn’t bad and they have all been on points’.
“They will obviously have checked him out to some degree but do they know how hard Greg can hit?
“He’s given every boxer he’s fought problems and he’s had people down in sparring.
“Greg O’Neil will certainly test Ogogo.
“I have had some heavy hitters on the pads in my time and he is right up there with them.
“Greg O’Neil can knock out any man with his right hand, it’s as simple as that.
“Ogogo is an Olympic medallist, a talented boxer and has the biggest promoters in the world looking after his career.
“I’m guessing this fight will get shown in America because he’s with Golden Boy.
“It’s a risk for them because of Greg’s power.
“I’m not saying Greg will do this or do that, what I’m saying is that he has a chance.
“We’re not going up to Glasgow for a weekend away, we’re going there to win. It won’t be a walkover.”
The bout forms one of the support contests to the WBO world lightweight title defence of Scottish hero Ricky Burns against America’s Terrence Crawford.
In terms of experience and expertise, Ogogo is undoubtedly out in front before the first bell is even rung at Glasgow’s SECC venue.
But O’Neil is fit and focused following a long unbroken run in the gym.
“He’s been in the gym since well before Christmas,” said Cope.
“Greg’s very fit – he’s been training hard and just waiting for a bout.
“Now he has an opportunity and what an opportunity.
“His weight is fine and we still have just over a week to put the finishing touches to the preparations.”
Ogogo could well be undone by a long-time enemy of a boxer – the tendency to look too far ahead.
The middleweight has his eyes on title shots already.
“I feel like in six months’ time I will be ready for those big, 12-round fights. I’m not in a rush but I want to test myself,” he said.
“I’m ready to fight good people.
“No disrespect to Greg O’Neil, he’s a good fighter.
“But if it were up to me I would be fighting these [title] guys next Saturday.
“If it goes the six rounds then great. The main thing is I will be a better boxer at the end of the night.
“That will hold me in good stead for even bigger fights and matches.”
Ogogo says he has complete faith in his backers, who have placed him on the Sky Sports-screened bill which is promoted by Matchroom.
“My promoters and management invest a lot of time in me and they need to bring me through at the right pace,” he said on the BBC Sport website.