Shane Cameron won't make it official until after Christmas but the final bell has almost certainly rung on the boxing career of the hugely popular Kiwi battler.

A knockabout shepherd from tiny East Coast outpost Tiniroto, Cameron discovered boxing late but went on to win a Commonwealth Games medal, establish himself as heavyweight contender and challenge for a world cruiserweight title.

With his vision seriously impeded by a nasty cut above his eye, the 36-year-old failed to answer the bell for the seventh round against American journeyman Brian Minto on Saturday night. He'd taken enough punishment. That assessment is not likely to change over the next few weeks as his wounds heal.

Cameron wasn't answering calls yesterday. His only utterances so far were in the ring shortly after the defeat, when he spoke of taking a good break and focusing on running his North Shore gym.


Cameron's manager, Ken Reinsfield, did the talking. He insisted he wasn't about to make Cameron's decision for him, but it sounded awfully like the end.

"You've got to say Shane has been a great ambassador for the sport," Reinsfield said. "He has always carried himself well. He hasn't had any rubbish fights. Every fight he has had has been a hard fight."

Cameron has done well enough out of boxing to have secured a bright future out of the ring, but the amount of flesh - and blood - extracted from him has been significant. The middle two knuckles on his oft-fractured right hand need replacing, and his face will again need plenty of time to heal from the cuts that have bedevilled his career.

The mooted big money showdown with rising star Joseph Parker is certainly dead in the water.

"It was a shame about the outcome for Shane," promoter Dean Lonergan said. "It probably finished his career - if he is smart."

Parker would now look to fight victor Minto, probably next June.

Even Minto suggested it was time for Cameron to give it away.

"He ain't getting better, he's taking blows every fight, he's got a baby coming and he's been successful in the sport, so maybe it's time to find something else," Minto said. "He doesn't want to end up with a brain injury."