David Haye was last night accused of running scared from a fight with Vitali Klitschko by the Ukrainian's manager.
The Londoner had claimed his heart was set on a fight with WBC heavyweight champion Vitali but he instead ended up signing for a grudge match against Dereck Chisora on 14 July.
Bernd Boente, who manages both Vitali and his brother Wladimir, claimed last night that he had offered a contract to Haye prior to the announcement of the bout between the two Londoners, but claims the Bermondsey fighter turned it down as he was scared of the 40-year-old Ukrainian.
"There was a contract from us for (Haye) to fight Vitali in September but he chose to fight Chisora instead because it's an easier task," Boente said.
"I think he never really wanted to fight Vitali. The guy is always talking. He barks like a dog and he does that because he is mostly afraid."
After moving up from cruiserweight, Haye vowed to end the Klitschkos' domination of the sport's marquee division, but he suffered the embarrassment of a points defeat to WBA, WBO and IBF champion Wladimir last summer.
The 36-year-old will not fight Haye again and Vitali looks set to retire in October if he realises his long-term ambition of being elected to Ukraine's parliament.
"I don't think it (Haye-Vitali) will happen," Boente added.
"It will definitely not happen in September because we are already talking to a couple of different opponents for then and it is too close for Haye to fight him after his fight against Chisora.
"Wladimir will never fight him again. Why should he? There are no questions left for him to answer and Vitali... If he is elected in October he will quit his career, for sure."
Yesterday the German Boxing Board joined the World Boxing Council and the British Boxing Board of Control in condemning Haye's July fight against Chisora, which is taking place under a licence from Luxembourg as neither fighter holds a British licence.
Wladimir, speaking at the London premiere of the film Klitschko last night, added his objection to the fight, saying: "It's a contest between two guys that have no licence and are fighting on British soil under a licence from Luxembourg. It's not even a fight.
"I think this is a story of a fight between two losers, two people who have lost to the Klitschkos."