Shane Cameron believes a match-up with Joseph Parker will happen "when the timing is right" but seems certain to rebuff a six-figure offer to him this year.
A war of words erupted today after Parker's second-round demolition of South African veteran Francois Botha.
Straight after yesterday's emphatic knockout, Parker's promoters, Duco Events, called out Cameron, with Dean Lonergan saying the 35-year-old was "there for the taking".
Lonergan's business partner, David Higgins, raised the stakes today, offering Cameron (29-3) more than $100,000 to take on Parker (6-0). Higgins also claimed Parker would end Cameron's career.
"We are probably ready to fight Shane in the coming six-months or year and we will try and make it happen," Higgins said.
"The incentive will be there. It will be within Shane's top-three highest-ever paydays. It will be an early six-figure fee."
Cameron respects the budding Parker, who made a statement with his sixth professional fight win in Auckland, but he feels the 21-year-old is not ready to go toe-to-toe over 12-rounds yet. Parker's longest pro fight was a six-round points win over fellow inexperienced Kiwi Brice Ritani in California.
"He's a young guy and I get on well with him," Cameron told Fairfax Media today.
"It comes down to what he wants too.
"It's a fight that will happen when he earns his stripes. It's a fight that will eventuate if the timing is right. If he has another half-a-dozen good fights then it's definitely potentially do-able."
After coming off a cruiserweight world title loss to Danny Green, Cameron is taking the year off before launching a comeback. He reckons Parker's Las Vegas-based trainer Kevin Barry would not be on board with Duco's fast-tracked plans.
"I'm sure Kevin Barry wouldn't want to put Joseph in a 12-round fight," he said.
"Kevin has a lot more knowledge than Dean Lonergan. Dean knows how to put on circus acts but he doesn't have any experience with quality fighters like Joseph.
"Kevin has been around a long time. I'm sure he's not silly enough to go and do that. He wants to work with Joseph for another year or 18 months before he starts stepping in to the level of where I know I'm at.
"I've had 20 title fights. Joseph hasn't even had one yet. Nothing against the guy but that's reality. I'm a seasoned conditioned pro."
Higgins stoked the fire further by asserting Parker would not only beat Cameron but end his career.
"Let's be honest it could be a career-ending fight for Shane," he said.
"Joseph is young, is up-and-coming. He's the next big thing in New Zealand boxing. If he was to put Shane away and knock him out like he did to Botha - and he would - where does Shane go to from there?
"[Cameron's manager] Ken Reinsfield knows full well that will be Shane's last fight."
Reinsfield was infuriated by those assertions, saying Parker's win over the now-retired Botha needed to be kept in perspective.
"He just beat the same guy Dean Lonergan said was a bum after he fought Sonny Bill-Williams," Reinsfield said.
"Apparently he is no longer a bum.
"Joseph is developing. He has a lot of talent. He certainly looked better against Botha, but to call out Shane is ridiculous.
"There's a whole lot of difference to fighting a 44-year-old that fights in slow motion to Shane Cameron. His punches will hurt you.
"Joseph has got some potential but he is yet to be tested."
With verbal counter-punches galore, this is the sort of public feud that played out before the Cameron-David Tua fight in 2009.
While the Cameron-Parker match-up may be at least 12-months away, it is clearly on the cards.
- © Fairfax NZ News