Re: Has a world level fighter ever gone into a fight thinking they'd lose?
No, I don't think so, if we are ignoring shot fighters. All boxers need self belief and the guys who become world class are all mentally strong. You could ask any welterweight in the world whether Wlad would knock them out and not one would openly admit that, I don't think. Some might laugh it off, some might not answer but I don't think you'd get a single one admitting they'd have no chance. Boxing fans would call them "deluded", and it is, but boxers need to be deluded sometimes. If fighters like Mayweather was realistic about his abilities, I don't think he would be the fighter he is.
I think the sport relies too much on mental strength for fighters to doubt themselves. Journeyman or lower level fighters do, yes, but elite fighters all have arrogance.