George Groves was forced to pull out of his WBO super-middleweight title shot on May 5. To make matters worse, the turn of events could allow bitter rival James DeGale to leapfrog him onto the World stage.
Groves damaged cartilage in his nose during training, which is expected to take at least 10 weeks to fully heal, and the scheduled challenge of reigning champion Robert Stieglitz at Erfurt's Messehalle is off as a result.
While both Groves and promoter Frank Warren expect the setback to merely delay the opportunity, this is the 24-year-old's second fitness-related postponement in as many months following his withdrawal from a British title defence against Kenny Anderson due to a back strain.
Their camp remains confident there will be no additional bumps in the Hammersmith lad's path to World championships, but thus far an excellent 2011 which took in victories over DeGale and Paul Smith is being followed by a frustrating 2012
Nottingham's Degale knows all about frustration, after feeling he was the better man in his loss of the British strap to Groves last May. The result that night was amplified by a defeat five years prior at the ABAs which sparked a brewing dislike between the Dale Youth sparring partners into a full-on feud.
And though 'Chunky', two years George's senior, responded the right way where it matters when he took Piotr Wilczewski's European championship on a majority decision back in October, recent interviews make it abundantly clear that the 02 Arena defeat is stuck firmly in his craw.
"It's a nuts one, Groves getting the Stieglitz world title shot. He must be getting that fight just for his win over me," the Beijing middleweight gold-medallist told the Daily Star.
"He's getting a mandatory position to fight for the World title for beating me but I won the European title in my next fight after him.
"So I've got a better title than him now but he still gets the world title shot? It doesn't make sense but once again it's boxing politics.
"Best of luck to him and he's got a good chance of beating Stieglitz, who has been knocked out every time he has stepped up a level and has got a padded record."
Putting the claws away for a moment, DeGale would go on to point out the elephant in the room: the inevitability of a third bout between the two:
"A rematch with Groves would be massive in Britain for whatever title," he said.
"It's a genuine needle fight. I'm ranked No.5 by the WBO so in a couple of defences of my European title and providing Groves wins the WBO title, I should then be his mandatory challenger. He will have to fight me so it could happen again soon."
Groves' recent niggles present an alternative scenario, however, if he continues to see his momentum stutter: Degale isn't far from contention as it stands, and may well get in there first.
With both fighters in with Warren, it's safe to say that the meticulous planner's ultimate goal of a money-spinning rematch between the duo with a World title up for grabs is a win-win which is not affected by who exactly defends against whom.
If Groves takes too long to finally step into the ring with Russian Stieglitz, a successful title defence by DeGale over Italian Cristian Sanavia at the weekend may be the first step towards a Plan B for Warren which would make little difference from the business standpoint but mean the world to the two Brits.
Groves has held the upper hand for almost a year now in a tussle for supremacy which has see-sawed since 2002, but if his foe were to claim a World title first, that psychological edge would surely do a 180 in a rematch.
Warren compared the rivalry to that of Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank in the 1990s, and the way in which Groves and Degale appear to motivate themselves off a sheer desire to be better than the other certainly suggests that they are heading down that path.
Their records and stylish form leave no doubt in the mind that Groves-DeGale III is on the horizon, that it will be for a World title and that it will be the best of the trilogy — but judging by a decade of animosity, the race to World glory will be another fight in itself.