Carl Froch has opted to vacate his IBF super-middleweight crown - leaving compatriot James DeGale to fight American Andre Dirrell for the title in April.
DeGale is the mandatory challenger for the IBF crown but Froch has his sights set on a lucrative showdown with former middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in Las Vegas.
Froch, whose last bout was his memorable knockout of George Groves last May, looked set to fight Chavez on March 28 but an elbow injury scuppered his hopes.
"It's been a frustrating couple of weeks with terms agreed for the Chavez fight only for me to be unable to proceed in camp due to injury," said Froch. "I know what it's like to wait for a shot and I didn't want to hold James up in fighting for a world title.
"James is a great fighter and I hope he can go out and win that title and who knows, we may even meet later in the year."
Froch still holds the WBA's 'regular' world title, with American boxer Andre Ward the governing body's 'super' champion.
He could also fight veteran superstar Bernard Hopkins this year and promoter Eddie Hearn suggested the bout may take place in Froch's home town of Nottingham.
"Talks continue with the Chavez camp regarding a summer clash in Las Vegas, and discussions have taken place with Golden Boy Promotions regarding a bumper clash in Nottingham with two-weight world champion legend Bernard Hopkins in the summer," said Hearn.
DeGale defeated Brandon Gonzales on the undercard of the Froch-Groves re-match last year and is now in negotiations to fight Dirrell, with a bout expected to happen at London's O2 Arena on April 25.
If Dirrell steps aside, DeGale could also face Groves or Mexican Gilberto Ramirez for the belt.
"I'm making history - I'm going to be the first British Olympic gold medallist to win a world title," DeGale said.
"I'm willing to fight anyone. You're boxing for the world title so whoever it is, it's going to be hard.
"Finally my chance is here. My next fight I'll be boxing for the IBF world title. I'm excited and I can't wait for it."
DeGale's advisor Ambrose Mendy admits the team were disappointed Froch turned down the all-British showdown but insists there could be another chance in the future.
"Seven months of James' career have been wasted," said Mendy, who helped Nigel Benn win the WBO middleweight title in 1990.
"I've been fortunate to work in an era when fighters fought. I think Carl Froch had the opportunity to become a great fighter - he didn't need to beat James DeGale but he needed to fight him and he didn't.
"James called him a coward and although that might be a bit strong overall, if you refuse to fight you are a coward.
"I hope Carl Froch doesn't retire because James is going to annex the world title and if Carl is still there in front of him he'll have another opportunity.
"(To avoid DeGale) once is a mistake, twice is deliberate."
Hearn insists there was no agreement in place for Froch to fight DeGale.
"I don't feel a verbal agreement was made for that fight," Hearn said.