Patrick McKendry

Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Boxing: Make-or-break career bout keeps Cameron on his toes

Professional boxing rivals keep wary distance on joint promotional tour of the country.

Shane Cameron and Brian Minto.
Shane Cameron and Brian Minto.

Shane Cameron's fight against Brian Minto could break his career, so to spend the weeks leading up to Saturday's clash in the company of the American has been, as he says, "interesting".

As the headline bout for the Fight for Life event at Waitakere's Trusts Stadium, the promoters have sent the pair and their trainers to most parts of New Zealand to build the hype.

"It's something that I haven't experienced before, travelling with my opponent," Cameron said. "We try to keep everything as separate as we can. We have to fly on the same plane together; we have our dinner on one table here and they have their dinner on one table there and we get in separate cars ... you get times when you are standing there and Brian is standing there as well and you end up just having a chat anyway, just talking about everyday stuff because you're both human beings.

"You do get to know one another just slightly but I know when the first bell comes there's going to be fireworks straight away."

Minto, a tough and experienced 38-year-old heavyweight from Pennsylvania, was similarly relaxed about the arrangement.

"We're not trying to intimidate each other, it's business. As he said, once the bell rings, that's when the action starts.

"We've got a lot in common, both being family men ... we're just trying to be professional about it."

Cameron's manager Ken Reinsfield added: "This fight doesn't need talking up. Both these guys are professionals, they don't need to talk trash to each other. This fight doesn't need to be hyped ... this will be a real scrap."

This is an important fight for Cameron, his first for 12 months since his disappointing defeat to Australian Danny Green as a cruiserweight. Victory would re-establish him in the heavyweight ranks; defeat would leave his career in limbo.

Cameron said there were no mental issues to contend with in terms of his inactivity, but conceded he has come a long way since beginning sparring about eight weeks ago.

"The first two weeks were really rusty for me, I took punches I shouldn't have taken, but once I got the rust out I started to find my groove again."

In terms of his future, he said: "I need to take care of Minto first, if I don't it's a big grinding halt to my career. Beating someone like Minto, he's certainly a well-known name in the professional world ... he's a good name to have on your record. My goal is to get another shot at a world title."

Minto, who said he considered himself a "spoiler", is being trained in New Zealand by Kevin Barry, who underlined his new charge's awkwardness, saying it could create difficulties for the 36-year-old Cameron.

- APNZ

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