The wait has ended.
All the East Coast hype about unbeaten super middleweight prospect Jaidon Codrington is about to do one of two things after his ShoBox bout with fellow unbeaten Allan Green Friday night (11 ET/PT, Showtime).
Either it will disappear, or it will go through the roof. That's how good this kid from Queens (by way of Bridgeport, Conn.) can be.
"I've been getting a lot of press all over the nation, but as far as national coverage of my fights, people haven't seen me," said "The Don" (9-0, 9 KOs).
"People want to put the face and the good work together. So now that they're gonna see me for the first time, I've got to step up and put the words they've been saying to good use.
"It's a very important fight for me so I can show that what everybody's been talking about wasn't a lie. I've had nine good fights so far, nine fights where I progressed, nine fights where I've done excellent things, and I can't go backwards now. All of those nine fights mean nothing now. It's all about this one fight and starting all over again because you're selling me to a whole new audience."
This whole new audience is one starving for some excitement, for that one fighter that they can look at and say, "I need to be home when that kid fights again."
So far, the 21-year-old "Chin Checker" fits the bill, with a mix of speed, power, and flash that has captivated New York City audiences since his debut in 2004. But that's a lot of pressure for anyone, especially when the rest of the country just loves to see a New York prospect with good press clippings go down in the big show.
"When great fighters have pressure on them, they perform the best," said Codrington.
"Great fighters perform and do things people never thought they could do under adverse pressure. They rise to the occasion. I plan to do the same. I'm fighting a guy [who is] 17-0. I'm 9-0, I'm going to his backyard, and it's my first nationally televised show.
"I'm planning to rise to the occasion. That's what the whole game is about and that's what makes Roy Jones great. His first fight ever was an eight-rounder. When he was 17-0 he fought somebody with 70 wins and three losses."
It's a lot of confident talk from Codrington, a former national and Golden Gloves champion. Even though it was expected that he would lead the prefight buildup in brash proclamations, surprisingly it's been Oklahoma's Green who has been the louder of the two as the fight at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Okla., nears.
Even more shocking is that Green is talking so much with an "in the ring" style that doesn't really lend itself to calls for Armageddon on fight night.
"I'm kind of surprised that he's talking so much junk," Codrington admitted. "He's a runner, he's a holder, he's a 'let-me-buy-some-timer.' And then I look at the content of his words and he says, 'Jaidon's running around talking junk,' which I never did.
"Everything I say is to promote myself. Everything he says is to take away from me and belittle me. I never belittled the man; I just said I'm good and I'm confident I can do this."
Green has called for the bout to be increased from eight rounds to 10 or 12.
"Oh, you're starting to second-guess yourself," Codrington said. "Make it a 10- or 12-rounder so you can make it a slower-paced fight. I see."
It's obvious that Codrington just loves the game -- both in the ring and outside of it.
He loves to fight, he loves the knockout, and he loves the buildup. What he's not fond of are decisions.
He hasn't had one yet as a professional, and as an amateur his most lasting memory is of a loss to DeAndrey Abron in the quarterfinals of the Everlast U.S. Championships in 2004.
In that fight, Abron repeatedly hit the canvas. But Abron still was awarded a 27-26 decision. It forever soured Codrington on the amateur game, and when reminded of it now, he finally can laugh.
"I knocked this guy [Abron] down three times," Codrington said, "he spit his mouthpiece out, and this same guy? He stopped Allan Green in the amateurs. How dare he [Green] even say my name?"
Codrington says he's not worried about the bout going to the cards this time, even if he is fighting in Green's backyard.
And as far as traveling onto enemy turf, don't worry. Codrington will have backup, like his fellow "Chin Checker" Curtis Stevens, Dash-DiBella stablemate Andre Berto, and Starrett City gym mate Sechew Powell all on the card with him.
"Believe it or not, whether we're in Oklahoma or not, seeing Andre Berto in my dressing room, having Curtis right next to me, and having Sechew there gives it a homier of a feeling," said Codrington.
"I've also got four brothers and my sister that are all gonna be there -- you can't beat that. My whole team, my manager, my whole gym -- everybody that comes to my home fights is gonna be there except the fans. And once I hit him with a couple of good shots, the fans will be screaming for the fight and not just the fighter."
What's going to happen if those shots don't take Green out, though?
The former National Golden Gloves champion is no slouch, and he's got the type of slick style to give anyone problems. Codrington admits he's in tough.
"He's a good fighter and I'm expecting a good fight," he said. "But at the end of the day, I don't think he has what it takes to beat me. There's clearly a difference."
For him, the difference is in the details, like where you train.
Codrington puts his daily work in at Brooklyn's Starrett City Boxing Club, which is starting to gain notices as the equivalent of Detroit's famed Kronk Gym.
"Starrett City is the most competitive gym, not only in New York City, but on the East Coast, and maybe even the country," said Codrington of the gym, which is also home to Stevens, Powell, WBA welterweight champ Luis Collazo, Travis Simms, Gary Stark Jr., and tons of the best amateurs in the city.
"People come from Gleason's to spar us. When they want work, they don't go to Gleason's, they come to Starrett City. On a bad day, it's hard sparring. You've got to be in shape just to come to the gym."
And in a tough fight, Codrington believes all those torturous days in the gym will pay dividends.
"When the going gets rough, I'm gonna keep going, and I'm gonna turn it up a notch," he said.
"That's what I do every day in sparring, and it's something I've seen before. When the going gets rough for him and he's in a position where he has to make choices that he hasn't had to make before in his professional career, what will he do? Yes, he's had more fights than me and he has more professional experience than me, but I think I've been in a lot of positions that I'll see in that fight just in the gym alone."
And it doesn't hurt that Codrington recently helped Antonio Tarver prepare for his rubber match with Roy Jones. Working with the light heavyweight king has its own advantages.
"I'm young and energetic and Tarver's old school, so when I go over there, there's a lot less punching and a whole lot more thinking," he said, "and that's what I gain from him more than anything else: Experience, balance, and small things like that that help you become a veteran."
At 9-0, Codrington is far from being a veteran of the pro ring, but he takes a big step toward the next level Friday night. With a victory, the rest of the country will see what New York fight fans already know. And then, we could be seeing the birth of a star.
That's an offer from "The Don" that boxing fans can't refuse.