By Duncan Johnstone
Joseph Parker's frustrated promoters have had to lower their sights for his next fight, entering contract negotiations with American veteran Vinnie Maddalone.
Parker will headline the Fight For Life extravaganza in Hamilton on December 6.
High hopes to get a ranked opponent have had to be tempered by the machinations that go with match-making as Parker starts to make a name for himself.
The top five fighters are all protecting their rankings to get a mandatory title shot and the group from 10-15 in the rankings are not in risk-taking moods.
In basic terms, plenty are running scared, not wanting to hop in a ring with Parker who is rapidly rising up the ladder - 11 with the WBA and 14 with the WBO.
Australian Lucas Browne (WBC No 6, WBA No 5, IBF No 7), Puerto Rican Fres Oquendo (WBA No 8) and Australia's Mark De Mori (WBA No 9) have all said no to lucrative offers.
Main Events, the American handlers of Russian Vyacheslav Glazkov (IBF No 2, WBO No 11, WBC No 8, WBA No 12) want an option with Parker moving forward in their terms for any clash now, but Duco Events aren't going to give up a slice of their prize fighter.
Duco are going to have to dig deep into their pockets to get a big name to head to New Zealand and that won't now happen until next year as they work on the sponsorship plans to deliver that.
''It's what's stifling the sport of boxing,'' Duco's Dean Lonergan said of the politics involved in getting decent fights.
In the meantime, 40-year-old New Yorker Maddalone is being courted, presenting a respectable record of 37 wins, eight losses and a draw with 28 of his wins coming via knockout.
He hasn't fought this year but he's won four of his last six fights and has been in the ring with the likes of Tyson Fury, Denis Boystov, Jean Marc Mormeck, Tomasz Adamek and Evander Holyfield.
Putting some perspective on him for Kiwi audiences, Maddalone has had two losses to Brian Minto, the American that Parker knocked out in July.
A fast-rising Minto knocked out Maddalone in the 10th and seventh rounds of their fights in 2004 and 2005.
In the independent rankings produced by the respected BoxRec website, Parker sits at No 29 with Maddalone placed at No 69.
Parker's trainer Kevin Barry believes that on short notice, Maddalone is ''a perfect opponent'' whose aggressive style will suit both Parker and the audience.
''Vinnie has always been a guy that I thought would be a good test at some stage,'' Barry said.
''He's as tough as they come. He's very heavy handed, especially in the first couple of rounds ... he's a dangerous guy. He will come forward and fight and Joe is going to have to beat him down.
''After the challenges of fighting a very defensive fighter like Sherman Williams who was more content to dodge punches and hold, this guy will fight with Joe.
''As far as a style for Joe, I like guys that come forward and come on to him.
With Joe's fast-rate punches, it's better that they are coming to us and we're not chasing.''
Parker and Barry head back to Las Vegas tonight for a four-month camp with Barry set to base his plans on countering Maddalone's tactics.