Isaac Hlatswayo is feeling the strain of a missed opportunity, after he drew with Delvin Rodriguez in a crucial International Boxing Federation welterweight bout last November .
That fight, which was presented by Golden Gloves at Emperors Palace, was billed as the IBF title eliminator.
At that time Hlatswayo was ranked third while Rodriguez was ranked 13th. Hlatswayo is currently ranked fourth, Rodriguez sixth while the number one spot is still vacant.
Kermit Cintron, who is ranked second, is the next possible opponent for champion Joshua Clottey.
Third ranked Shane Mosley will challenge Antonio Margarito for the World Boxing Association belt next month.
Promoter Rodney Berman promised Hlatswayo a rematch with Rodriguez this year. That was when he still saw eye-to-eye with Hlatswayo's trainer, Nick Durandt.
They have since cut ties and Berman wants nothing to do with Durandt's fighters.
Hlatswayo, one of the many fighters from Durandt's gym, told Sowetanlast week that he still rated Berman as the top promoter in the country.
Berman then issued a statement on Monday which read in part: "That brand of loyalty is often rare in this day and age. We're now looking at a possible return match with Delvin Rodriguez, who Isaac drew with last year, but let me say that our options in this regard are innumerable."
A source said attempts were made for Hlatswayo to leave Durandt and join Harold Volbrecht as his trainer while Brian Mitchell was to manage his promising career.
Apparently the purse money that was offered to Hlatswayo to fight Rodriguez killed off the fleeting chances of that defection.
Hlatswayo has since pledged his unwavering support to Durandt.
"I am not going anywhere," he said. "Nick promised me something precious and I know that he is a good negotiator."