No trash talk. No staged squabbles. No pathetic sideshows.
Two classy, well presented, professional boxers, who will attempt to land thunderous punches to each other's heads, broke the predictable mould to let the stature of their fight take centre stage yesterday.
Boxing is far from clean, but Shane Cameron and Danny Green present a rare example of how the sport's profile and, indeed, perception, can be altered when humility replaces brash arrogance.
"I had to go get a new suit for this," a trim Cameron, who has shed four kilograms, said of his dapper attire that would make Sir Bob Jones proud. "It just shows the class of the fight. This is not two boofheads. This is two good fighters and respectful men outside the ring."
Unlike the tired mudslinging that usually surfaces at boxing events, mutual respect was clear as the contrasting pair spoke about their respective quests for the vacant IBO cruiserweight title in Melbourne next month.
"It's pretty difficult to hate someone you don't know. If I have to disrespect someone to fight, then I don't want to fight them," a slick looking Green agreed.
"Cameron is not a mug. I'm not a mug. A lot of people expect boxers to be fools. This is a good sport. It's also a thinking man's sport."
But, behind the suits and amicable public personas, there is subtle tension brewing.
Outside of the ring, Cameron and Green may be respectful, but that will soon be forgotten when the gloves come out.
"I don't need to dislike or have any animosity towards someone to knock them out cold," Green explained. "I'm a fighter, that's what I do. I'd knock my brother out if I had to."
This trans-Tasman clash has been two years in the making. Over that time, Green dodged Cameron's challenge, until now.
Timing is everything; Cameron feels he has gone full circle since dropping from heavyweight and first calling out the three-time Australian champion.
While the prevailing pre-fight messages were complimentary, Cameron delivered one straight-up warning.
After serving up a shock statement that made world-side waves - his stunning knockout of American gatekeeper Monte Barrett - Cameron believes he has evolved from a mere stationary fighter that relied on heart to get him through the war.
"This is the best I've felt in my career," Cameron proclaimed. "He probably should have taken this fight two years ago. This would have been a hard fight for me two years ago, based on my style then. I feel a lot more comfortable now. He's taking me after the biggest victory of my career."
Green doesn't shy away from the fact he is past his prime. The 39-year-old has indicated he will retire after this fight, but there is a sense of determination in his stare, one that says he has plenty to prove after losing two of his last three brutal battles.
"I'm older and he's younger...he's probably hitting his peak, but that excites me," Green said. "He's not taking me likely. He's not that silly. This is his shot at the big time."
- Fairfax Media
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