Brock Jarvis would be covered in cement as he chained up his pushbike outside a Sydney train station.
Jeff Fenech waited in a car nearby to drive this teenage labourer to a boxing gym, where Jarvis changed his clothes and trained, before being dropped off at the station and riding home.
"That's the first thing that impressed me, the will, the want, the drive to see me every afternoon," Fenech said.
"The work ethic was second to none, it reminds me of myself, you know? His temperament and his nature, he's such a good boy. He asks for nothing and he works his arse off.
"It's my dream, I've got my kids and my family, but my purpose is to see this kid succeed and do everything I did, and hopefully more.
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"He's one of those kids who has never been given everything, he appreciates everything he works for and he knows how hard he has to keep working to achieve everything.
"I met him when he was 16 through one of my friends [Jarvis' uncle]. Him and his dad said they were doing boxing and brought him in. I was just about to go overseas, I went overseas and came back.
"I went to jump back on the plane to go and train a young boxer and I actually took him with me. The rest is history."
Fenech looked after Jarvis for a handful of amateur bouts before guiding him into the professional ranks, where he has amassed a perfect 17-0 record.
Now 23, Jarvis will look to continue his rise up the rankings when he faces Mark Schleibs (12-0) for the IBF Pan Pacific featherweight title at EPIC's Coorong Pavilion on Friday night.
Widely regarded as one of Australian boxing's brightest stars, Jarvis has jumped up a division having been ranked ninth by the IBF in the junior featherweight class.
Yet Jarvis still has to pinch himself when he thinks about having a legend of the sport in his corner, and promoter Dean Lonergan plotting his path to a world title.
"He took me under his wing and looked after me. I'm very lucky to have a great trainer like Jeff," Jarvis said.
"I've grown a lot, I feel like I get better every day training under Jeff. I feel like I've improved a lot. I believe he is the best trainer in the world, I'm really lucky.
"There are some great fighters at the moment here in Australia and it's an honour to be a part of it."
Jarvis is humble by nature, hardly one to be drawn into pre-fight fireworks. He leaves Fenech to light the fuse - and he has done just that.
First came an offer of five times the purse, winner takes all against a fighter Fenech has labelled a nobody. Then he labelled calls for a judging panel overhaul "bullshit" against a camp which insists it is looking out for Schleibs' best interests.
All the while Jarvis is happy to take a backseat, adamant he will let his fists do the talking when he steps into the ring to headline a card broadcast live around the country - just as promotional stablemates Justis Huni and Issac Hardman did last week in Brisbane.
Fenech has no doubt he will, because even the three-division world champion marvels at what Jarvis picks up while they study boxing's greats.
Julio Cesar Chavez, Roberto Duran, Micky Ward, and Arturo Gatti are among the names Jarvis studies religiously in his bid to chase down a world title shot.
"We watch boxing all day and he picks up things. At the moment, I would say if he was a boxing trainer, he would be the best in the country," Fenech said.
"He can see things that I never knew. He loves the sport, he lives for it. In this sport, we're all one punch away from disaster, you never know what's going to happen.
"I beat Azumah Nelson in 10 out of 12 rounds and in the next fight he knocks me out, but that's boxing. But with his preparation, I'm very very confident in where we are today.
"The guy they watched fight 16 months ago isn't here. It's a completely different guy, I can't believe it."
NATIONAL BOXING SERIES
Friday: National Boxing Series - Brock Jarvis v Mark Schleibs at Coorong Pavilion at EPIC, 6pm.
Featherweight: IBF Pan Pacific featherweight championship - Brock Jarvis (17-0) v Mark Schleibs (12-0)
Lightweight:IBF International lightweight championship, WBO Oriental lightweight title - Jacob Ng (13-0) v Hunter Ioane (8-0-1)
Super welterweight: Alex Cooper (3-0) v Nathan Robson (2-0)
Super featherweight: Ben Dencio (7-3) v Gerry Zapantis (debut)
Super welterweight: Terry Nickolas (debut) v Krishna Mudaliar (7-9-2)
Super middleweight: Alex Hanan (10-0) v Ray Ingram (2-19-2)
Welterweight: Hassan Hamden (1-0) v Uten Chanavon (0-7)