Shane Cameron is already hinting at a return to the ring less than 24 hours after his loss to Danny Green in the IBO cruiserwieght world title fight in Mebourne.
A battered and bruised Cameron touched down in Auckland this afternoon sporting a pair of dark sunglasses to mask the six stitches in two cuts to his foreheaad.
But despite the disappointment of losing he said had no plans to hang up his gloves any time soon.
"The desire is still there," the 35-year-old Cameron said.
"I'll take a break through to Christmas. We've got look at where we go from here ... but the desire is still there to get a world title. I've got the age and exeprience to push on further."
Cameron dropped a weight division for his shot at glory, to comply with Green's weight demand - 1.7kg under the cruiserweight minimum of 90.7kg - and endured two weigh-ins.
But the Kiwi simply couldn't land the knockout blow he required to become only the second New Zealand-born boxing world championt.
And despite the odds seemingly being stacked against him - he fittingly entered the ring to Kenny Rogers "The Gambler" - Cameron and his corner admitted damage was also self-inflicted as the Australian veteran engineered an ugly though convincing triumph by unanimous decision.
Cameron's aspirations of matching the achievement of "Torpedo" Billy Murphy - the Auckland tailor who became the featherweight world champion in 1890 - had ended long before the 12th and final round because the 35-year-old converted heavyweight had neither the strength or guile to change the course of an encounter devoid of explosive hitting power.
Green was expected to use his lighter frame, nimbler footwork and quicker hand speed to tire Cameron by running him around the biggest dimensioned ring available, but instead the West Australian opted to grapple, clinch, wrestle and ultimately frustrate the Kiwi by neutering his famed right hand.
Neither boxer would land anything resembling a killer blow but Green was busier over the final rounds to protect the advantage he built during the middle stages.
Cameron dislodged Green's mouthguard twice but critically the impact had no effect on Australia's first four-time world champion.
The judges called the fight 119-109, 116-113 and 116-112 in Green's favour. Cameron had no quibble with the adjudicators but was annoyed the supposed highlight of his career was essentially a "stink" fight.
American referee Pat Russell hardly helped the underdog either by allowing Green to tag Cameron with impunity when he called for the duo to break, or allow the Australian to manhandle the Kiwi to the canvas in the 10th.
"I thought it was another (John) Hopoate fight for a start there," said Cameron, who barely landed a blow before the former league star was disqualified when they fought in 2010.
"He (Russell) kept letting him get away with a lot of shots. It would have made it a bit easier if he'd warned him a bit more."
Still, Cameron agreed Green was a worthy winner, even if his tactics grated.
"It was a very messy fight. I'm sure it was pretty boring to watch. Danny was on my chest the whole night. It was just a stink fight, he did what he needed to win," he said, conceding: "He fought a better fight plan than what I did. His one worked and mine didn't."
Cameron would not entertain the prospect of a rematch after enduring such a dour experience and although he was non-committal about whether he would persevere as a cruiserweight or return to the heavyweight ranks he was knew what he wanted in an opponent: "Someone who doesn't hug me all night, that'd be better."
Cameron's manager Ken Reinsfield admitted Green's team tactically beat him to the punch.
"It was a fair decision, I'm not going to argue.
"Dan fought a smarter fight given the refereeing conditions we were given. It was an inside fight, a tied up fight and he adapted to that probably better than Shane," he said.
"They started to close the distance down so the (Cameron) jab wasn't working. The weight thing didn't have an impact."
Green, who fought despite having ribs cracked during sparring, felt his ability to adapt was the vital point of difference.
"I didn't plan to stand toe to toe as much, that's just the way it happened. I was experienced enough to adapt," the 39-year-old smiled.
"I'm very proud to have won my fourth world title in a hell of a school scrap, a rough and tumble kind of a brawl against a banger and tough coin."
- © Fairfax NZ News