Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Opinion: The Prospect of Tua-Cameron

With heavyweight contender Shane Cameron’s 11th round stoppage over the ordinary Robert Davis still fresh in our memory (as opposed to David Tua’s last fight which seems to have happened somewhere before Christ). The much hyped and anticipated showdown with former heavyweight contender David Tua is now a reality. First, let’s get this straight, although their (slated for) June contest should be a good bout by two fighters who are bound to go at it, it is no where NEAR the international boxing community’s radar. New Zealand fight fans? Sure….but it’s effect on a division desperately searching for it’s savior? Barely a ripple…

The New Zealand public is just fiercely divided over the outcome. Being a man of logic and reason I threw together the following analysis.

SHANE CAMERON: (23-1, 20 KOs)

Cameron is not an overly big heavyweight and usually comes in around 230. This is always a good 230 and we are yet to see him out of shape or fat. He has 20 stops in 23 wins in which he has just worn down his opponents before turning out their lights. When he hurts an opponent he knows to turn it on, once your tagged it’s pretty much a guarantee that he is gonna get you out of there. Bob Mirovic (Cameron’s biggest win to date) was punished then straight stretched out by a left hook. Even if it is late in the bout he knows how to rally for the stop. His body attack of late has been most impressive as he is just punishing the mid, as shown in his last bout against Robert Davis.

As terrible as this sounds…well….Cameron is a white heavyweight. I know, I know. Fighters from the former Soviet Bloc (also white) have stamped their mark on the division of late and are currently holding all the belts. Cameron is a prototypical white heavyweight, little lateral movement, bleeds when exposed to open air and has a suspect chin (as shown by Ahunanya ) which can be magnified by his average defense. When Cameron bleeds it’s like someone burst a dam and there is no way he is going to be able to stand right in front of Tua. Although his stoppage of Mirovic was impressive, he does not possess one punch knockout power and relies on wearing people down with a bombardment of hooks both upstairs and down. His strategy just seems to be about getting people out of there and, when faced with stern opposition, he can look lost.

DAVID TUA (49-3, 42 KOs)

Tua’s left hand must as or, if not, close to as destructive as Mike Tyson’s in his prime. If he lands it, it means someone is getting stretched out. He possesses late power and has a string of late round knockouts of some credible heavyweights (Maskaev, Rahman, Oquendo..). He has also fought much better opposition than Cameron and, more often than not, proved himself in these contests. Tua’s chin has been the best in the heavyweight division for a long time and he has never been seriously wobbled or down (the after the bell knockdown by Rahman doesn’t count) which is also tribute to his not-often-discussed head movement and defense.

For all of Tua’s power, he is rather one-dimensional and even fighters with moderate boxing skills, who are smart enough to stay away from the hook, can frustrate him as Chris Byrd showed us. Tua can also come in seriously out of shape and this has shown in his punch output. In fact, Tua’s punch output has been on the decline in general. This puts him in a very precarious position of being a world class puncher who doesn’t want to punch. When Tua fights Cameron he will be close to 37 years of age which can be old for a fighter and ancient for a slugger, take your Holyfield/Foreman/Hopkins arguments elsewhere, these people are freaks. Tua has also been relatively inactive, not having a fight since blowing out poor Cerrone Fox in September of ’07. Although he did have three fights that year, he has since done nothing.


You’re not going to be able to stand toe-to-toe with Tua. There is a book on how to beat him; stay on the end of the jab, move around so he can’t set his feet, stay away from the left and tie him up on the inside. Simple. Unfortunately Shane Cameron has never shown us that he is remotely capable of doing this and just bores straight in - this will be his downfall. You hope that this fight is going to be two-sided slugfest but the harsh reality is that it is entirely possible, if Tua lets his hands go, that Cameron won’t even get the chance to bleed. Like all of New Zealand, I want to believe in Cameron – I really do, however, unlike the rest of New Zealand, I deal in reality.

Tua KO.

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