Danny Green (left) of Australia and Shane Cameron of New
Zealand will meet in an IBO title bout tonight. (Photo by
Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Shane Cameron's brittle right hand has been rebuilt so
many times it would make Steve Austin wince. His skull has been
smoothed so his face doesn't cut so easily. Even his reputation
has required a rebuild after being shredded by David Tua in
Hamilton three years ago.
So Cameron is no stranger to personal reconstruction. But
tonight in Melbourne - against Danny Green in an IBO world
cruiserweight title contest that eclipses the Tua fight for
importance if not interest - it is how well Cameron copes
with his physical deconstruction that will prove decisive.
Cameron has been broken down over the last seven weeks,
stripping weight from an already fat-free body to meet
Green's demands, and taking a pounding in the ring during an
incredibly intensive sparring programme.
His gaunt physical appearance at his final public engagement
before departing New Zealand last week shocked many. But
Cameron believes his handlers have got things just right. The
weight loss went smoothly, he has retained his power and has
recovered from the brutal sparring as his workload was
trimmed 10 days out from the fight.
"I'm a different man to what I was in my last sparring
session when I was doing heavy rounds," he said at
yesterday's weigh-in. "I am ready. I am exactly where I want
to be, mate. I couldn't be more ready for anything in my
Cameron's camp had better have got it right. The blows he
will take in the ring tonight won't go close to replicating
the extended punishment he has received during 80 rounds of
"When you see a fighter get knocked out, most of the damage
has been done before a fight," Cameron admitted in a recent
interview with the Herald.
Green doesn't possess huge one-punch power but he is as
relentless as his "Machine" moniker suggest. His impressive
28 KOs from 32 wins prove just how deadly he is if he gets
the upper hand.
Cameron wants Green to come at him. Deep down, Green almost
certainly wants to oblige. He's a front foot fighter, but
he's also smart enough to know that standing in front of the
much bigger but less mobile Cameron would be hugely risky.
At a media event in Auckland last month the Australian hinted
at his strategy.
"Attack the body, take his wind, chop the tree down and take
them out towards the end of the fight," was how Green
described his preferred approach.
The build-up has been largely friction-free, however that
will end tonight.
"I don't need to dislike or have any animosity towards
someone to knock them out cold," Green said. "I'm a fighter,
that's what I do. I'd knock my brother out if I had to. I
don't want to hurt anyone or damage anyone permanently. I
have no malicious intent when I am fighting. But I will keep
punching until the ref drags me off and I will knock you out
cold if I have to."
Green is fighting for his legacy. He wants to be the first
Australian four-time world champion. At 39, he also wants to
go out respected as someone who never ducked for cover. His
reputation took a serious hit in 2010 when his title defence
against countryman Paul Briggs, who was not fit physically or
mentally to fight, turned into a 27 second farce.
Since then Green has been intent on righting the wrong. Twice
he's bitten off more than he can chew, resulting in KO's at
the hands of Antonio Tarver and WBC champ Krzystof Wlodarzyk.
Buoyed by his KO of Monte Barrett, Cameron believes Green has
chosen the wrong man once again.
"The Barrett fight was the easiest fight of my career and
this fight is going to be just as easy," Cameron said.
Despite his vastly superior pedigree, Green has been happy to
play the Aussie battler card. He's getting long in the tooth,
has been found out a couple of times, and Cameron is a truly
"I am older and he is probably hitting his peak but that
excites me," Green said. "Hopefully when I am old and
crotchety I can look back and say 'I took on guys I had to be
at my best to defeat. Shane is that. He is not going to take
me lightly. He is not that silly. He is good nick mentally
and physically. He ain't taking this easy - this is his shot
at the big time."
- By Steve Deane of the New Zealand Herald in