The mouth-watering heavyweight clash between Joseph Parker and Dereck Chisora is under threat as the New Zealander's management team has not been able to get a commitment around drugs testing.
The fight is slated to take place on October 26 at London's O2 Arena and is being talked about as one of the biggest heavyweight fights of the year.
However, Parker's manager David Higgins today dropped a bombshell, saying that the fight was off unless they could get Chisora to commit to Wada-sanctioned blood and urine testing anywhere in the world up to and immediately following the fight.
"We've received a formal offer to fight Dereck Chisora on October 26. We have accepted on the condition that two clauses are inserted into the contract," Higgins told the Herald. "One is that Joseph's fight will be no earlier than the penultimate fight on the card, and the other is the drug-testing protocols."
The first clause would appear to be a formality. Parker's gutsy performance during his controversial loss to Dillian Whyte won him a host of new fans in the United Kingdom. The Chisora fight, should it go ahead, will likely be billed as a co-main event with the rumoured super-lightweight unification bout between Scot Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis.
Parker's camp said promoters had promised a response to his demands for the drugs-testing clause but they had failed to materialise.
Higgins said that as of this morning, he had received no assurances from the Matchroom promoters that the clause would be inserted in the contract.
"Under the circumstances of those conditions not being met, unfortunately we will have to pull out of the fight," Higgins said.
While much of this can be put down to pre-fight posturing, there is a serious element that shouldn't be ignored. The martial sports still have a reputation for their wild west attitude to performance-enhancing drugs. There is a sense that fighters' careers and even lives are being put at risk when there is an uneven playing field.
If the fight does not go ahead, it will undoubtedly be a blow for fans of the heavyweight division. There are riches in the big-man ranks at present but deals to put together big fights have proved hard to stitch together.
By contrast, this one seemed easy.
Chisora is managed by David Haye, a former grizzled heavyweight who retired last year after losing to Tony Bellew. Haye has been pushing for a Parker fight since the two met in Las Vegas earlier this year.
"Joseph Parker said to my face in Vegas, 'Chisora, let's do the fight'," Haye told the media in July. "Dereck wants it, Joseph Parker wants it, [David] Higgins wants it, everybody wants it. The fans want it. It's just a great fight."
Parker's last fight was a TKO victory over journeyman Samoan-Australian puncher Alex Leapai, while Chisora impressed during a two-round obliteration of Poland's Artur Szpilka.
To make the fight happen, Parker has put ego aside and ceded A-side to Chisora, meaning the Brit will get preference over the dressing room and will walk to the ring second.