By Liam Napier
After one year out of the ring, Shane Cameron will launch his comeback and headline next month's Fight for Life against Brian Minto.
The experienced American heavyweight (38-7) is a credible opponent and should pose a genuine test for Cameron (29-3) ahead of what he hopes will be the final defining two years of his career.
Before securing Minto, the Sunday Star-Times understands Fight for Life promoters Duco Events chased undefeated Ukrainian Andriy Rudenko (24-0). He priced himself out of the market, demanding a $150,000 purse.
Coming off an IBO cruiserweight world title loss to three-time world champion Danny Green last year, Cameron is determined to make a statement in his return to the heavyweight division. There he feels most comfortable and doesn't have to lose more than 10kg from his natural weight.
Pennsylvania-based Minto should provide that opportunity. Cameron will hold a slight height (eight centimetres) and reach (four cm) advantage.
But styles make fights the public want to see.
There will be no surprises when these two square off. It will be an intriguing clash that should produce a stand-and-deliver, blood-and-guts war. Neither fighter is known for finesse. Both come forward, take plenty of shots and are, therefore, regarded as tough competitors.
All that adds up to a fight which could end with a knockout blow.
After a 12 month rest period, Cameron feels refreshed. The 36-year-old started sparring four weeks ago to get his eye in under the guidance of trainer Henry Schuster, who linked belatedly with David Tua in his career-ending defeat to Alexander Ustinov last week. Cameron realises this is his last crack at mounting a charge for a heavyweight world crown.
Minto - dubbed "The Beast" - has plotted a similar path to Cameron. A natural heavyweight, he dropped to cruiserweight for a shot at the WBO title in 2010, but lost to German Marco Huck. His other big-name fight was against American contender Chris Arreola in 2009, when he suffered a fourth-round TKO.
The 38-year-old comes off mixed form in this month's England-based Prizefighter tournament, which pits American and UK fighters against each other.
All Blacks Liam Messam and Piri Weepu will also line up on the undercard of the charity event. Tags: Shane Cameron