It turned out Tyson Fury had jumped the gun.
The proclamation prompted cheers from the crowd at Belfast’s Windsor Park and seemingly let slip the sport’s worst kept secret: that the biggest heavyweight fight this decade was headed for the home of boxing.
Tyson Fury vowed to knock Deontay Wilder out in Las Vegas when they met in ring in August
Now boxing’s biggest puncher and its biggest personality collide in Los Angeles on Saturday
A gifted, loose-lipped British boxer against a flashy, big-punching American hope – Fury vs Wilder was a fight made for the gaudy extravagance of the Strip.
But on Saturday night, fans at the state-of-the-art T-Mobile Arena will be treated to a rendition of SexyBack rather than 12 rounds of the noble art.
For it’s Justin Timberlake who headlines in Sin City this weekend, while Fury and Wilder face off 270 miles away from the glare of the bright lights – in Los Angeles.
The heavyweight showdown was confirmed on August 18, after Fury cruised to his second comeback win with victory over Francesco Pianeta in Belfast.
The 21,000-seater Staples Center in Los Angeles is the home of both the Lakers and Clippers
The Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas was the other front-runner to host the heavyweight showdown
But more than a month later, the biggest fight of the year was still without a venue. Then, eventually, after weeks of contrasting reports and ridicule, the fight finally landed on the West Coast.
The Staples Center, home of both the LA Lakers and Clippers, had overcome Vegas’ Mandalay Bay to secure the money-spinning showdown.
For the two fighters, it provided a date with destiny to work towards and also put an end to fears that the fight could be pushed back further.
They had originally been scheduled to meet in November and the clash risked being delayed until the new year as talks over a Vegas rematch between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao resurfaced.
Those negotiations failed but the Staples Center still won out over Sin City and New York, which boasts both Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center.
The last big heavyweight fight at the venue was Lennox Lewis’s 2003 win over Vitali Klitschko
Fury and Wilder have fought on the East Coast before but this time they went west, with the world famous MSG instead playing host to Rocky Fielding’s clash with Canelo Alvarez on December 15.
WILDER V FURY ODDS
Deontay Wilder – 4/7
Draw – 25/1
Tyson Fury – 6/4 (out from 7/5)
Since its boxing debut at the turn of the century, the 21,000-seater Staples Center has played host to some of the sport’s most iconic names – Roy Jones Jnr, Oscar De La Hoya and Pacquiao among them.
It is no stranger to heavyweight showdowns, either. The Staples Center was where Lennox Lewis signed off on his incredible career with victory over the great Vitali Klitschko in 2003.
But since the ‘Battle of the Titans,’ the sport’s blue-riband division has stayed away, with WIadimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua ensuring the home of heavyweight prizefighting has been on this side of the Atlantic in recent times.
Fury beat Steve Cunningham on the East Coast in his only previous fight in the United States
Wilder, meanwhile, has fought three times at the Barclays Center in New York in recent years
Now it returns to LA with a bang as the sports biggest puncher and one of its biggest personalities collide for the WBC title, with a shot at AJ for the undisputed crown peering over the horizon.
Not that those responsible for putting on the fight will have much time to prepare.
Timberlake continues his tour with a show at the Staples Center on Tuesday evening before basketball takes over.
The LA Clippers face the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, after which the Lakers enjoy back-to-back home games against the Indiana Pacers and the Dallas Mavericks.
That leaves organisers less than 24 hours to clear the court and ensure it’s a home fit for the giants.