Beast of a brawl looms in Fight headline bout

LIAM NAPIER
Last updated 05:00 13/12/2013
Shane Cameron and Brian Minto
MARION VAN DIJK/Fairfax NZ

Shane Cameron (left) and his Fight For Life opponent Brian Minto.

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They don't come any more blue collar than Brian Minto.

The self-confessed American spoiler couldn't be further from glamorous, but everything about his personality and motivations suggest Shane Cameron is set for a bloody brawl on Saturday night.

Minto's first sporting love was American football. He grew fond of the pugilistic art during an 18-fight amateur career, while playing inside linebacker and running back at college in the rust-belt state of Pennsylvania. The small town of Butler, situated one hour north of Pittsburgh, has and always will be home.

Like Cameron, Minto - whose ring name is "The Beast" - was a boxing late-bloomer, turning pro at 28.

There had to be more to life than stringing television cable, or working as a mason tender - laying brick and block. If you never take a chance in life you're never going to be successful at anything, he figured.

The gamble paid off. It could be much worse than being paid to travel the world and forge a respectable 38-7 record.

"I took a chance. I fought a professional fight for some extra money. I didn't really know what was going to happen," Minto says with a strong East Coast accent.

"My wife wasn't happy about it. It's been a good living for me. At the end of the day you've got bills to pay and kids to feed. I know what it's like to be on the other side. That's why I put a lot of work into boxing throughout the years."

From an early age, during playground scraps, Minto knew he had heart. Being an undersized heavyweight, it's possibly his greatest asset. He's been down but also gets back up.

All fighters harness unique motivations.

For Minto, that's his family. Daughter Megan, 13, and son Mathew, 11, who is on the spectrum of autism, need his career to prosper.

"It's tough with him," Minto says of his son. "His social skills and behaviours are bad, but there are kids that don't even communicate. It's hard for my wife at home and when I'm there. Being gone, it puts a lot of stress on her. She's a good woman and has stuck with me through everything."

Auckland is a different venue; the challenge is the same. Minto is, again, on the outer. Yesterday the visitor spoke of his best triumph, knocking out German Axel Schulz (26-5) in-front of 15,000 foreigners. He is embracing this similar challenge.

It's fitting Minto must plot his own future. He's never had a promoter to sell his talents, and won't need one if he can pull off an upset over Cameron.

"Being the spoiler motivates me," he says. "It's not a glamorous term but I see the writing on the wall as far as coming to another country. I'm not the favourite. I'm not going to get any favours decision-wise. I've never had a promoter. I've always fought on phone calls. Every time I'm brought in to lose. This is my job and this opportunity is very good."

The focus of this fight is squarely on Cameron's comeback.

For both fighters, though, one punch can change everything.

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- Fairfax Media

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