Anthony Crolla admits that Gamaliel Diaz could ruin his hopes of landing a world title shot.
The Mancunian has steadily risen the rankings and will edge closer to the lightweight champions with a win over Diaz on September 13, live on Sky Sports.
But Crolla is refusing to look past the Mexican, a former super-featherweight world champion, who is used to fighting on foreign soil.
In April, the Mancunian halted local rival John Murray in a thrilling battle at the Phones 4u Arena in his hometown.
He returns to the Manchester venue for his meeting with Diaz and hopes for strong vocal support in this make-or-break contest.
“Early on his career he lost quite a few, but since then he has learnt how to fight,” said Crolla. “He is a former world champion and he holds a win over Robert Guerrero.
“This is the most important fight of my career because if it all goes wrong for me on September 13 then the big plans I have for world titles back in Manchester won’t happen.
“Every time I fight at this arena it is special for me. This is the arena from being a little kid, a schoolboy boxer, watching the likes of Naseem Hamed, Michael Brodie, Ricky Hatton that I have wanted to fight in. So every time I am back here it means the world to me.
“Last time out was a fantastic night for me and the city of Manchester, and the support myself and John Murray received was great.”
Scott Quigg’s WBA super-bantamweight title defence against Stephane Jamoye tops a busy bill, which also includes Scotty Cardle's British lightweight title eliminator against Kirk Goodings.
Olympic gold medal hero Anthony Joshua continues his march towards heavyweight belts by facing Konstantin Airich, while Gamal Yafai, another ex-Team GB member, also returns to action on the undercard.
Tickets for Scott Quigg's world title defence, and Anthony Joshua's Manchester debut are available now online. Go to ticket.sky.com/Boxing.