Six-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt on Friday dismissed suggestions that he is 'afraid' of facing in-form American Justin Gatlin, adding that he has shown he is the best when it mattered most.
Gatlin ran 2015's fastest 100 metres and 200 metres races in 9.75 and 19.68 seconds, but is yet to race against Bolt this season. The pair is set to meet in the World Championships in Beijing in August, along with other leading sprinters Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell.
"Afraid? When people say that, I laugh. I've been in the sport for years and I've never dodged anybody. When it matters, I've always showed up and shown that I'm the best," Bolt was quoted as saying by bbc.com.
Jamaica's Bolt holds the world 100 metres record at 9.58 seconds and the 200 metres record at 19.19 seconds - both set in 2009.
"Gatlin has been doing a lot of talking, saying a lot of things. He's proved he's running fast times and he's ready. So it should be exciting going into the World Championships," the 28-year-old said.
"I look forward to competing when people talk, because if you don't back it up you look really stupid."
Bolt is in New York for the 200 metres race in a Grand Prix at Randall's Island on Sunday.
"I'm not in the best of shape and I'm not going to put myself out there if I know I'm just coming back. When I get to Beijing I'll be ready to go and that's when the showdown will be," Bolt, who announced in February that he would retire after the 2017 World Championships said.