Battered Cameron's boxing days look to be over

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 05:00 16/12/2013
Shane Cameron
PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax NZ
Shane Cameron, left, takes a big hit from Brian Minto in the main event at the Fight for Life in Auckland on Saturday. Minto won by TKO.

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Brian Minto has finished off Shane Cameron's heavyweight boxing aspirations and the gritty American says he would fight top New Zealand prospect Joseph Parker for "a solid retirement fund".

The 38-year-old battered Cameron, 36, into submission in west Auckland in a fight that was called off early with the Kiwi suffering heavy cuts.

The contest loomed as career-defining for both boxers and while Cameron's future looks bleak, Minto is set to enjoy an unexpectedly sweet twilight period Down Under.

He is a big winner in a limited New Zealand heavyweight scene that has been severely cannibalised over the past few weeks.

David Tua's departure will surely be followed by Cameron, leaving Parker, 21, top of the heap by default now.

He will fight Brazil and South American champion George Arias in March and already there is talk of Minto being thrown at him.

Whether that's sensible based on what was seen from the American's confrontational style in the Fight For Life headline act with Cameron remains to be seen. Minto is a brawler and Parker is a boxer, reliant on lightning hands and quick movement.

They share a common denominator in an increasingly small scene with both being coached by Kevin Barry.

Minto, suddenly a Duco darling with the promoter's dollars in his sights, is up for the challenge.

"Joseph is one of my friends; he and me became close. But this is business. If I can get a good solid retirement fund, I'd fight Joseph Parker, definitely. It's business," Minto said, believing he'd need a handsome cheque for the risks.

"You see Shane was a good heavyweight for me because he doesn't have size on me. A guy like Joseph, I'm already behind the eight-ball, he's way bigger than me."

Parker is set to spend Christmas in Samoa with family and will return to Las Vegas next month to build up for the Arias fight, his first since severely cutting an eyebrow against Afa Tatupu. The cut is healing sweetly but no risks are being taken.

Parker admitted he was a frustrated viewer ringside on Saturday night.

"When I see people fight and spar I want to jump in and do it again, but I have to be on the safe side," Parker said.

With Cameron yet to confirm his future, Parker said he had the utmost respect for the Kiwi veteran, along with Tua.

"They have set the example for us growing up," he said.

A payday against Parker might be the only incentive for Cameron too, though there seemed to be an air of inevitability in the Cameron camp as they digested the unexpected battering he had taken.

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His manager Ken Reinsfield said last night it could be the new year before any decision was made. They didn't want emotions to rule just as they didn't want to make a decision they may regret, Reinsfield saying too many boxers made comebacks after retiring.

Minto believed Cameron was showing signs of wear and needed to think heavily about his future.

"If you ain't getting any better and you are taking those kind of blows every fight ... he's got a baby coming ... he's got to be thinking ... he's been successful in a sport, it's time to step aside," Minto said.

"That's just the way the sport is. You don't want to be ... 10 years from now walking on your heels and having traumatic brain injury. I wish him all the best. He's a tough warrior, definitely. He's never backed down from fighting anybody so I give him all the respect in the world.

"But if you're not adjusting to get better, I just think it's time for him to find something else. He has taken a lot of punishment. This is a rough sport."

Just as Tua was undone by some poor matchmaking against the giant Belarusian Alexander Ustinov, Cameron bit off more than he could chew in taking on Minto's in-your-face approach after more than a year out of the ring.

"I think it was the wrong fight for him ... my style is rough for anyone because I put a lot of pressure on, it's just the way I fight."

Barry said it was "too early" to talk of a Parker-Minto fight. They would need to sit down now and plot a course forward but the immediate focus was on getting Parker ready for Arias.  

- Fairfax Media

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