Joseph Parker's camp says the up-and-coming boxer has made such progress that he's ready to take on Shane Cameron.
But Cameron says a fight with Parker would be premature and the 21-year-old "needs to earn his stripes".
With David Tua's retirement, the two men are the most high-profile heavyweights in New Zealand and both are preparing for upcoming bouts.
Cameron, 36, will return after more than a year to take on American Brian Minto in the main event on the Fight for Life card in Auckland on December 14.
But he dampened down the idea of meeting the unbeaten Parker immediately after that, pointing out the disparity in experience.
Cameron has had 32 professional fights during which he has boxed 190 rounds, while Parker's seven bouts have totalled 15 rounds.
"He's a good fighter," Cameron said.
"He just needs to earn his stripes, just the same as everyone else has to earn their stripes."
Against the 38-year-old Minto, Cameron will be back in the division he is more comfortable with than in his last bout, when he had to slim down to face Australian Danny Green for the IBO world cruiserweight title.
His defeat to Green by unanimous decision was last November, but he brushes off suggestions of rustiness.
"I might not have been in the ring, but I haven't been out of the gym," he said.
"I've still been training, still been keeping fit."
Parker will go up against Brazilian George Arias in March.
His trainer, Kevin Barry, has no doubts about his readiness to take on Cameron.
"Joseph is well ahead of the game at the moment," he said.
"He has made fantastic progress in the seven months that we've been together."
Barry said Parker had recovered well from the big cut he got during a head clash when defeating Afa Tatupu in October.
He said a specialist in Los Angeles believed the way the injury had healed made it unlikely the area would be opened up by an opposition fighter's punch.