By Liam Napier
Don't underestimate the drive to leave a lasting legacy.
That much was clear today as Shane Cameron and Kali Meehan set the scene for their November match-up with a tense exchange in downtown Auckland.
Cameron reiterated his ambition to overcome the shock loos to Brian Minto late last year and his pledge to retire, should he not restore pride against Meehan. But he then noticeably bristled as Meehan outlined his confidence and intention to end the career of the Mountain Warrior.
From a Kiwi perspective, Joseph Parker is the new kid on the block as he climbs the ranks and accepts the heavyweight mantle. But, for now at least, Cameron sits behind only David Tua for what he has achieved in the sport. Meehan, who spent his first 28 years in Avondale, West Auckland, before campaigning the majority of his career from Australia, wants to set the record straight.
"To me this is about trying to define my legacy and my era of boxing," Meehan said.
"When I'm an old man I'll look back and see what I've done and talk about it. David has always been at the head of New Zealand boxing. I need to prove it should have been me and David fighting to see who is the best heavyweight of our era - not Shane.
"Shane is a good strong fighter. He's got such a big heart but it's my job to prove I should be in there with David, not Shane.
"As a fighter that's something we hold dear to ourselves, trying to establish our own legacy."
Cameron is a proud man and though he kept his emotions in check he didn't enjoy Meehan's remarks. It will only fuel his desire to make a statement after the Minto defeat.
"I never make excuses but in hindsight I shouldn't have taken that fight. I wasn't ready; I wasn't right. Since the Danny Green [cruiserweight world title] fight I needed a break. I lost the fire for the sport and the hunger to train hard. I had no respect for him. Minto came prepared and demolished me," Cameron said, bluntly.
"For me if I lose this fight I'll never fight again - that's the end of my career. That's my drive and determination. From now until November 22 I'll be training like a demon to make sure it isn't my last fight."
While both boxers are in the twilight of their respective careers, motivation cannot be questioned. Styles make fights; Cameron's come forward approach and Meehan's long-bomb power strongly suggests an early stoppage.
"I respect Shane for taking this fight," Meehan, the inaugural Super8 champion, said. "I have to make sure this is his last fight. And I'm trying to get a crack with David Tua who's been the leading heavyweight for a long time."
After confirming he held no concerns for Cameron's health, manager Ken Reinsfield gave Meehan a not-so-subtle reminder about Cameron's crushing fourth-round knockout of Monte Barrett in 2012.
"Everybody wrote off Shane when he fought Barrett and look what happen to him," Reinsfield said.
"Trust me. When he's hurting and when he's down, that's when Shane is most dangerous. They're both bangers. They both come to fight. This is an explosive match-up. This is the best domestic match-up since Tua-Cameron."
On the undercard, leading Kiwi cruiserweight David Aloua will also defend his WBA Pan Africa and WBO Asia Pacific titles against Daniel Baff. And former Australian champion Brad Pitt headlines the contenders for the cruiserweight Super8, which includes Kiwi title holder Monty Filimaea, who is trained by Tua.