Junior Fa's manager Mark Keddell has hit out at Joseph Parker's manager David Higgins, accusing him of creating a false narrative by claiming Fa is "running scared" of a bout against Parker.
The potential bout between New Zealand's top heavyweight boxers has been discussed for some time, and with the rest of the world in lockdown, the chance of it coming to fruition seems more likely.
However, unhappy with the offer from Higgins, Fa's manager Mark Keddell told Newstalk ZB's D'Arcy Waldegrave his team had parked the idea for now.
"Junior Fa is not running scared and he'd be happy to fight for the right value. Let's have some transparency with the deal," Keddell said.
"We know Higgins' playbook — the more he wants something, the more he tries to embarrass you and make you jump up and down.
"That's had the absolute opposite effect with [Fa's promoter] Lou DiBella. Lou didn't even consider that first offer, because it left off one major thing — which was buying the rights."
Speaking to Sky Sport UK this week, Higgins accused Fa of running scared after turning down oan offer of about $500,000 for the fight.
However, Keddell said the offer only accounted for Fa and did not take into account his international broadcasting rights, owned by DiBella.
The bout would likely be alluring to boxing fans around the world with two fighters ranked inside the top 15 across multiple sanctioning bodies.
And with Parker (2) and Fa (6) among the top-ranked WBO heavyweights, it could shape as a title eliminator of sorts.
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"It's internationally significant, and with a lack of true competitive fights happening in the marketplace, of course this is a big deal," said Keddell.
"The international TV rights are large, and of course Lou DiBella, who owns Junior Fa's international TV rights, needs to be compensated for those — that's just standard business.
"We know this is going into the US, we know this is going into the UK, but David seems to think we're only fighting on the local scene, so he's not really recognising the value of the fight as an international one.
"We're pretty much just going to leave it there until David comes back with something real.
"Right now, it's just an offer to Junior, but he needs to sort out the other side of it as well."
In his interview with Sky Sports UK, Higgins claimed the fight had no appeal outside the New Zealand market, given Fa's resume paled in comparison to Parker's.
"Here are the facts. Junior Fa, who has fought no one, has been calling Joseph Parker's name through the media for two years to build his name in New Zealand," Higgins said.
"The Parker-Fa fight has meaning in New Zealand but not really outside. If DiBella thinks otherwise, I invite him to put an offer on the table for international television rights. He won't.
"It's a bad look if they don't take the fight, so that's why they don't like it in the media. Long story short, if they believe Junior Fa would win the fight, they wouldn't have a problem.
"Joseph Parker is the A-side, he should be paid triple Junior Fa, but he is willing to fight Junior Fa for the same money. They are running scared is what's going on."