ODDS OF 10-1 ON CHRISTIAN HAMMER springing an upset over WBO mandatory challenger, Tyson Fury this Saturday, appear decidedly tempting once you delve into the Hamburg-based Romanian's background.
The 27-year-old is undefeated in four years and arrives with a reputation for possessing heavy hands, nimble feet and soaring confidence.
The heavyweight juggernauts were amateur contemporaries who first crossed paths at the 2006 World Junior championships in Agadir, Morocco and it was Hammer who topped the podium, leaving Fury to settle for a bronze gong.
In a decorated amateur career, the fighter born Cristian Ciocan also made the semis of the 2008 Olympic qualifying tournament, but was thwarted on points by Liverpool's David Price.
After shedding his singlet in November 2008, 'Der Hammer' made an underwhelming entry into the pros, losing three of his first 10 gigs.
A first round retirement loss to Slovakia's Robert Gregor on his debut - courtesy of a shoulder injury - can largely be dismissed and he was still just a 22-year-old, nine-fight novice when 6ft 8in Polish giant Mariusz Wach, unbeaten in 21, knocked him out in six in July 2010.
His career appeared to be heading nowhere when, in his comeback five months later, he dropped a six round majority decision to the far more mature Ukrainian Taras Bidenko.
But mentor Erol Ceylan - who navigated Alexander Alekseev and Karo Murat to IBF title challenges - retained the faith and skilfully manoeuvred 'The Hammer' back to contention. Over the next four years, the Romanian has won ten fights straight, with six stoppages.
His last seven victims all entered with winning slates and, if a four round stoppage of a shop soiled Danny Williams can largely be discounted, his four most recent wins are certainly worthy of merit.
Norway's Leif Larsen, a onetime NFL footballer, had lost just once in 18 prior to Hammer executing a seven round count out back in Romania. Subsequently, Atlanta's evasive ex-WBC challenger Kevin 'Kingpin' Johnson and hardy Kazak, Konstantin Airich, were both comprehensively schooled over ten rounds.
And in his most recent public airing last October, big Chris registered an impressive 12 round shut-out over feared Brazilian banger Irineu Beato Costa Jr, who entered unbeaten in 15, with 13 victims falling early.
At 6ft 2in tall and 17 ?? stone, he is a similar dap to Canada's Nevin Pajkic and Philadelphia's Steve Cunningham, who both capsized Fury in the past??? and Hammer's card certainly suggests his punches carry significantly more poke than either of that pair!
Coached by Valentin Silaghi, who scalped Britain's Mark Kaylor en route to a bronze medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, we can expect him to bring an astute game plan.
While this will be his first pro excursion outside either Romania or Germany, his extensive amateur service means he is unlikely to be fazed by travelling to London.
Already ranked third by the WBO, Hammer will be galvanised in the knowledge that Saturday's spat is a final eliminator to champion Wladimir Klitschko in all but name.
The pressure on Fury is immense. The 6ft 9in gypsy needs this workout to ensure his tools remain sharp as he awaits his crack at either Klitschko or WBC boss Deontay Wilder, but he will be cognoscente that any slip-up will see his world title dream evaporate.
And after preparing for four separate high profile civil wars with David Haye and Dereck Chisora (twice each), just how mentally wired will Fury be for a mark time fight in which he is an overwhelming favourite?
Add on that Fury is an incurable risk-taker, who places almost as much worth on thrilling the punters as he does on having his arm raised.
Come Saturday, he'll be looking to sizzle, to bolster both interest and revenue in his pending world title challenge. Already, he has intensified expectation by declaring he expects to vanquish Hammer inside five rounds.
But Tyson will be confronted by a young, hungry, dangerous lion. While he should be quietly confident of triumphing, this is certainly no 'gimme'.