When looking ahead to the weekend's fight between Tyson Fury and Martin Rogan, one cannot help but feel that this should have been it; that is, the day of the confrontation between Fury and countryman David Price.
The prospect of two undefeated streaks being put on the line in a battle for the right to be regarded as the nation's next potential heavyweight saviour is one which has left many fight fans praying for a green light in hope that they will breathe life into the flagging weight class.
Mancunian Fury and Liverpool's Price have been linked for quite some time now, but just when it appeared to be rubber-stamped, predictable red tape reared its ugly head.
With stumbling blocks from television rights to promotional leverage — and not forgetting that old classic, share of the purse — the meeting of the skyscrapers was scrubbed off the schedule, but both camps are surely only delaying the inevitable.
Price's reaction was a real indication that the match-up could easily still take place at a later date. He kept the fires stoked by saying: "I'm disappointed and I'm frustrated because the fight has been brewing for that long and he has had that much to say about me, but when the time comes he cops out.
"He is talking about the offers that were made, but he would have got the biggest pay-day by letting the fight go to the purse bids.
"I was expecting more of Tyson Fury because I thought he was a fighting man, but he's proved me wrong. He is a coward, no two ways about it."
Many of the doubts cast towards keeping top fighters away from one another are accelerated by the competition (or lack thereof) offered up by promoters as an alternative.
Diluting the disappointment surrounding Fury's vacation of his British and Commonwealth titles after Price had been named as mandatory challenger was the subsequent announcement by both boards that Price would meet Sam Sexton for the vacant straps.
Sexton's only two defeats have both come at the hands of Dereck Chisora — whose actions since have left the British boxing scene in even more dire need of somebody like Fury or Price to step up and restore pride — and he looks set to provide Price with his first real test as a professional
Former Prizefighter winner Sexton has been quite vocal to that extent, and plans on ending the Scouse freight train at Aintree Racecourse on May 19th, a result which would throw his own name back on the domestic map after his Commonwealth title loss to Chisora served as a high-profile derailing.
And 40-year-old Rogan — whose fights have been sparing following two straight defeats to Sexton back in 2009 — is the type of burly and stubborn competitor one hopes should at least give Fury a work-out over a fair few rounds, en route to what looks to be the 23-year-old's next step towards world title contention.
Taking Price's remarks in his stride, fury and his camp appear set to try and carve their own route to the top and ignorance is certainly bliss in the fine art of boxing promotions. Also helping his cause were the complimentary words from multi-world champ Wladimir Klitschko.
The Ukrainian has been extremely respectful to both Fury and Price and welcomes the eventual challenge of at least one of the two. And with the heavyweight scene in dire need of someone capable of dragging Wlad out of his comfort zone, 12 months of continued progress from each of the towering Brits may spark a lot of interest down the line in an eliminator, further along their paths to world contention.
It seems that regardless of Fury's precise motivation for side-stepping Price on this occasion, his ambitions will ultimately bring the two back on collision course at some stage, unless Sexton or Rogan can upset the odds and throw a spanner in the works.
As long as the two remain undefeated, those records will be added to their heights, their Northern English upbringings and their explosive fighting styles makes them comparable prospects
Both have a lot of learning to do — Price will benefit from more experience at a strong level under his belt, while Fury's own maturity self-genesis has been well documented — and for that reason alone I think the fight would be well worth the wait.
Can Fury make it without a face-off with Price? Probably. Will he? I hope not: British boxing has been waiting a long time for a fight like this, and it can afford to wait a little longer.
- Sports & Recreation