Shane Cameron's boxing career is on the ropes after he was beaten by American journeyman Brian Minto in their heavyweight clash that headlined the Fight For Life boxing event in West Auckland.
Minto scored a TKO when Saturday night's fight was stopped after the seventh round with Cameron's corner conceding their man was unable to continue because of cuts over both eyes.
Minto won the WBO Oriental heavyweight title with this victory.
The 36-year-old Cameron, on the comeback from his cruiserweight world title loss to Australian Danny Green in November last year, never looked comfortable against the confrontational style of Minto.
The 38-year-old veteran was in Cameron's face from the outset, producing the double cuts to a fighter who has had a long history of bleeding.
Minto was deducted a point in the fifth round for illegal use of an elbow and another point in the following round for a headbutt.
They contributed to the damage but that was never going to change the course of the result.
Minto landed repeated clean, heavy blows to drain Cameron.
Cameron looked rusty. Returning to his more comfortable weight division, he never got his jab going to keep the relentless Minto at bay.
There was a feeling that had the fight gone on Minto would have won by distance or legitimate stoppage.
He was the more aggressive fighter on the night and deserved his win over the brave Cameron.
Just where Cameron goes from here remains to be seen. This could well be the end.
On top of David Tua's recent retirement, Joseph Parker now looks like the man in the heavyweight division.
His trainer Kevin Barry was in Minto's corner last night and had his fighter well tuned.
Minto said he would welcome a battle with Parker. "I'd love to fight Parker," Minto said.
Barry said Minto wasn't a dirty fighter, it was more about his style.
"That's how Brian fights, he fights close and aggressive," Barry said.
Minto said nothing was intentional and he felt he was a good chance to win this fight from the outset given Cameron's comparative inactivity over the last couple of years.
Cameron wasn't making any excuses. He put too much pressure on me and the cuts came at a difficult time," Cameron said.
The loss was Cameron's fourth in 30 fights.
Cameron said he wouldn't rush any decisions over is career.
How excited are you about the 2014 Commonwealth Games?Related story: After the hype, time to let the Games begin