By Mark Staniforth
It might not be in the same league as Mayweather versus Pacquiao, but British domestic boxing can now lay claim to its own non-superfight following Tyson Fury's withdrawal from purse bids for a prospective heavyweight clash with David Price.
Fury's promoter Mick Hennessy announced that his fighter was relinquishing his British and Commonwealth titles this week, claiming the 23-year-old had bigger plans in his quest for world domination.
The news automatically brought an end to hopes that Fury and Price would meet in an all-British blockbuster. Price had taken just 73 seconds to win the English title over John McDermott last month, and be installed as Fury's mandatory contender.
The accusations started flying immediately. Price's promoter Frank Maloney accused Fury of being a "chicken", adding: "He has let himself, his fans, his travelling community and most of all the boxing world down."
Hennessy retorted that he had, in fact, offered Price £100,000 to meet Fury on Channel 5 - an offer he claimed was turned down flat. What Hennessy did not say was why he refused to enter into the purse bids process.
Fury himself said: "If David Price really believed he could beat me, the smart move in my opinion would have been to take the great pay day that was offered by my promoter to appear on terrestrial TV."
Fury is certainly making a name for himself in his regular prime-time slot, but it is an inescapable fact that he needs to face recognisable contenders like Price before he can even begin to live up to his own and his promoter's hype.
Fury is marketed as the most exciting fighter in Britain today and that may be true, but only because he is flawed enough to drag even the most routine assignments into all-out, multiple knockdown wars.
Using that same thought process, Price, then is positively dull, because of his ability to make his fights so one-sided that his last four have lasted for the sum total of seven rounds.
It is, as Maloney says, a sad indictment of the current state of boxing that Fury's team believes his best route is to avoid high-profile risks in pursuit of world title belts which often carry even less meaning.
It is a sad fact that, unfinished article though Fury is, he is still one of the leading contenders to fight the Klitschkos, and would not be without a chance against that most spurious of champions, current WBA belt-holder Alexander Povetkin.
Would victory over Povetkin really ensure all Fury's Christmases came at once? Would it really, seriously, command mega-purses and comparisons with the likes of Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno?
Fury should think back to the last true domestic super-fight, when David Haye and Enzo Maccarinelli met in a world cruiserweight title unification showdown at the London O2 in 2008.
It was not a fight Haye had to take. He already had his heart set on heavyweight, and may have been unnecessarily risking his future plans by taking on Maccarinelli - just like Price, reknowned as a knockout puncher.
Instead Haye stepped in and did the business and reaped an almost unprecedented public profile as a result, catapulting him overnight from a leisure centre fighter into a global name to note.
If Fury is as good as his team suggests, that is surely the route he will take. He will knock out Price after a week of back-page publicity, and the acclaim will usher him straight into a legitimate title shot. His Channel 5 nights will never be the same.
Perhaps deep down Fury's team are beginning to realise that their man is good, but not that good. The safe route to stardom can be rewarding to an extent. But only by risking it all can Fury reach the place he claims to want to be.
Mark Staniforth covers boxing for PA Sport.
Tags: David Price , Tyson Fury