Unlikely pair praised for Cameron's condition
Gary Taylor's pro-bono facial surgery helped remove one bloody nuisance from Shane Cameron's professional boxing career - and now his nutritionist and an attentive partner has him primed to savour New Zealand's first world title victory more than a century.
Should the 35-year-old emulate the deeds of Auckland featherweight "Torpedo" Billy Murphy at San Francisco in 1890 and claim the vacant IBO cruiserweight belt by beating Australian Danny Green tonight, much of the credit will go to the nutritionist who has been in his corner despite not witnessing Cameron's exploits in person at Hisense Arena.
Cameron, a natural heavyweight, has fought at as much as 108kg in the past, and tipped the scales at 97kg before his previous fight with American Monte Barrett in July.
But in order to challenge for a world title for the first time, he had to comply with Green's demand that he drop to 89kg or less for yesterday's weigh-ins - a feat he achieved by officially tripping the scales at 88.5kg
Cameron believes a meticulous dietary regime - designed to shed weight but retain his raw power - will be a major factor if the three-time world champion from Perth can be denied an Australian-record fourth crown.
"I have a great nutritionist, I stick to the diet, I stick to the exact amount of calories every day," he said before rehydrating in a bid to increase his weight to 93-94kg when the main event gets underway before a crowd of about 7000 trans-Tasman fight fans.
Cameron has fought three times a division below his preferred heavyweight class but has struggled with weight loss before beating Daniel Ammann, Anthony McCracken and Dominic Vea - Australians lacking the pedigree of Green.
This time, however, the six-meals-a-day regime has enhanced his appetite for destruction.
"The science behind the nutrition has been key for me," said Cameron, who used to formulate his own eating plan.
Judy, his nutritionist, formulated the weight loss programme in Auckland; Cameron's partner Tara helped ensure he stuck to it.
"They've been crucial for Shane's preparation, and he is in the shape of his life," said manager Ken Reinsfield.
"I haven't really starved the body," added Cameron, who will digest carefully until he dons the gloves.
The pre-fight posturing ended yesterday and today Cameron will attempt to stay focused before the biggest night of his 32-fight career.
"I don't have any rituals. I might watch a movie, listen to music or go for a walk.
"I'll be resting and eating when I feel like it. I'm still on the eating plan, right the way through I'm still going to weigh all my food to make sure it's done right. It's important I don't over eat."
Meanwhile, Cameron knows it is unlikely he would be in a position to thwart Green's ambitions and claim that elusive belt had he not undergone career-prolonging surgery after his first loss as a professional in November 2007.
His propensity to bleed above the eyes was already apparent when he fought Roger Izonritei in mid-2006 but it was fellow Nigerian Friday Ahunanya who inflicted the unkindest cuts of all before winning by TKO in the 12th and final round.
"After that I got some surgery done. My bone structure was too sharp over the eyes. They opened the eyes up and took the edge off the bone with a grinder. I've never been cut bad since," he said.
"I'm not going to say I'm not going to get cut (by Green) but not to the extent I was. It was tremendously bad."
Cameron is hoping to become the latest Kiwi to pose Green problems before he heads into retirement.
The 39-year-old made short work of Daniel Tai and Jason Rarere in the early stages of his career but Sean Sullivan proved a tougher nut to crack at Perth in 2004.
Sullivan was the first opponent to last the distance against Green, although the plucky journeyman was on the wrong end of a unanimous decision after 10 brutal rounds.
"I remember the last time you died in the ring mate, that was against a Kiwi so this is going to be another bad night for you," Cameron warned.