Parking Season and a look at the current state of Boxing with Shawn Cameron
Brooklyn, NY (April 13, 2013)–The evolution of the sport of boxing continues as the game has changed drastically in the last few months. The cold war between Bob Arum’s Top Rank boxing and Richard Schafer’s Golden Boy Promotions seemingly has come to blows as HBO announced they will no longer be doing business with GBP, and will be working exclusively with Arum. Add to the equation that Floyd Mayweather, the sports biggest name and money generator has moved to Showtime from HBO, and you have the makings of nuclear war between two powerhouse PPV networks.
One must wonder where that leaves young professionals in the sport. Questions arise now as to which major company a young boxer should want to side with? Where are the bigger paydays? Who has more viewers? To answer these questions I decided to visit Gleason’s Gym in Dumbo, Brooklyn to ask a current professional fighter what he thought of the situation. What I got out of this visit is the realization that there has never been a better time to be in the sport of boxing. With the headgear coming of off the amateurs and two major promotions looking for top talent, it’s time for the young men of the sport to get in on some money and make a big splash on the fight scene.
There is no better feeling then walking into a competitive boxing gym. On this day the gym was filled with professional fighters as well as some talented amateurs sparring in preparation for the New York City Golden Gloves. I was able to get the opportunity to speak with Shawn Cameron. Shawn, who normally works between 1 in the afternoon to 9pm, was able to sit down and talk with me about all aspects of the sport. From the poor marketing and the fall off of good fights in MMA to the current champions of the sport, Shawn, as always, was not afraid to voice his opinion on all topics related to the fight game and although it feels like Spring here in New York, Cam explained to me that it is “Parking Season”. The most valuable lesson learned I learned at Gleason’s was that to knock someone down or out is called parking your opponent. See below as Cam educated me on a few more things in the current state of boxing from a fighter’s perspective.
First off, how did this all start, what brought you into the sport of boxing?
Just as everyone in this gym will say, I started out fighting on the street and knocking kids out. Being in the military in the desert we had some gloves, and I was knocking everyone out as well and I am talking about grown men who outweighed me by 50 pounds and I was knocking them out. The competition brought me to love this sport also. I began working out at the gym which turned into sparring which turned into the gloves, which turned into winning the gloves which turned into me realizing this is what I’m suppose to be doing.
As a professional, how do you handle working in this sport?
I’m on my own with no representation. Eventually, I’ll want representation, but I don’t need it. These managers want to represent you and take there cut, but they don’t care. They will give you a fight on a week’s notice with no consideration that you have other obligations and work. For me, I need to give notice to my job when I need off, I can’t be just leaving. They are in here to take your money and move on to the next person. The managers have other agendas as opposed to the future of your career. They get 35% for getting me a fight; I’d rather do it on my own.
What was your amateur record, and accomplishments?
I am a 3 times Gloves competitor with 22 wins with 6 losses. I am a New York City Golden Gloves Champ, finalist in the New York Metros, and a quarter finalist in the US nationals.
What where your toughest fights as an amateur?
Eddie Gomez was my loss in the gloves. He beat me with flurries of punches and out- boxed me. This was a huge motivation to turn pro. He came out and threw all these crazy punches and beat me on the cards. Richie Nieves from Long Island, who I fought in the finals as well as during my first gloves gave me two great scraps and was always a tough fight. Those two where my toughest competition.
You live in the gym, how do you keep up such a tough work ethic. What is your motivation in this sport?
Because I want to do it. It’s not easy coming in here at 5 in the morning getting beat up and going back to work. When you start fighting and learning and seeing your improving and the progression you have made it motivates you. Being in this gym constantly and working with men who I am fans of is motivating as well. I see them doing it and I want to be on that level, so it brings me to it.
The sport of boxing was said to be dead after Timothy Bradley’s controversial decision over Manny Pacquiao. Since then the sport has seemed to blossom with fight after fight being better then the last. Has there ever been a better time to be a young professional then right now?
It’s an excellent time to be in the sport. There will always be politics involved, which is why good representation comes in handy. Promoters take care of their top fighters and shield them, but it’s a great time to be in the game because new fighters are coming around and there are older fighters still hanging around. The pool is deep. Now with the Olympics taking off the headgear, a lot more people will turn pro, making the talent pool even deeper. The promoters still hurt the sport and make bad decisions. The fight game will always be about politics, especially with guys like Bob Arum and Top Rank, but it’s a great time to be in the sport.
HBO or Showtime?
Man that’s a tough question. I’d rather fight on HBO due to what they already have established. They are the #1 network in terms of boxing, and you will get more views on there. But, ask me that question a few months down the line and I may have a different answer.
It seems that the top fighters from the top promotion have a certain niche, that special something that makes them different. What sets you apart from the heap? Are you a Money Mayweather, a Maravilla, a Problem, or a Golden Child? What makes you that special fighter that people want to see win or lose?
I’m not a money May, I’m a regular guy you know that. I’m not going to act like the best, I’m going to come out here and work hard. I’m going to go out and fight and be me. I accept the fact that I can get knocked out. I have no problem with it and I’m ready to fight anyone. I’m competitive, and this is my 5th year boxing. I’ve accomplished more in these 5 years then most men in this sport have in 10. I love this sport, but I don’t need it. I’m of Cuban and Jamaican decent but I don’t relate to these people. I don’t speak Spanish, and I’m not a Kid Chocolate guy who is going to push for that Jamaican fan base. I am a fighter, my own person who comes to fight.
In your first 3 pro fights what have you learned about being a professional athlete?
Now I’m 3 and 0, my first two where KO’s, and I know for my weight at 154 I can put people to sleep. I’m expecting knockouts whenever I step in the ring. I stopped my first two opponents and in my 3rd fight, I fought a tough guy who just would not go down, and I had to fight every minute. With the pros you have to take your time and calculate everything. The headgear is off and the punches hurt a little more. You also have to worry about being cut. But with the pro’s I have more time to work and set myself up.
Your next fight this Saturday will be your fourth professional bout, and your third in North Carolina. Why is it that your are staying so active there?
I’ve been trying to get on the cards here in New York, but the representation is not there. Everyone is about taking care of their fighters and I’m not a priority in New York. I don’t have a manger here and had to beg to get on a New York card for my last fight. I can sell the tickets and put Asses in the seats, but I don’t have to go through as much to get put on a North Carolina card. The politics are less out there, and there is no begging to get on a car. I have to buy my plane ticket and pay for my boarding, but I tell them I want to fight, and I go out there and fight. I have to stay active and I can get on the North Carolina cards to do that. I love fighting in New York, I’m from here, but in the mean time I’m working well with the North Carolina people and they are putting me on the cards. It’s less politics.
Your opponent Steven Matthews has the same record as you and is fighting in his hometown, what is the game plan against him?
Steven Matthews was in the military with me and is a friend of mine but I will no longer be fighting him. My opponent on Saturday I don’t know much about, and its like the amateurs where I wont know who I’m fighting till the night of. Gym work pays off and I go out there and do my thing. I wont give him time to get off; I will impose my will and put him down. What’s crazy about just starting out with no representation is that anything can happen.
Being in a stacked division, whom do you see yourself fighting out of the top ten?
Ill take Canelo. No disrespect, ill take him for the simple fact that he is the next “god” of boxing. He has to prove himself, especially to me. Nothing is handed to you in this sport, at the end of the day you must fight good fighters, you need to fight someone just as strong and fast. When you fight the top men in this division, you’ll earn my respect. I would like to fight Vanes, he is technically sound but every time he is suppose to fight a top fighter, something happens. He talks shit, but doesn’t get in the ring; he does not impress me, I‘d love to fight him. Devon Rodriquez is a tough guy who you would have to shoot with, like really stand there and fight for every minute. I would love to fight him. And I would park K9, easily. Antoine Smith has been all over the place; I’d park him and let him retire.
Who do you respect most a fighter today?
I respect Martinez because he takes fights and has earned his respect. As did Lucas Matthyse. In this sport you have to earn you stripes. I like Erisandy Lara due to him and I having similar styles. I like guys that are coming up more then the top 10. There’s not 1 dominant fighter at 154 including Canelo. This is the changing of the guard, the younger fighters are coming up and there is no one dominant in this division. 154 is a tough weight class, even in the amateurs, it’s very competitive and very exciting. I like Rosado also, but I don’t know if he is even going to stay at 154.
Where do you see yourself going in this sport?
I spar top names and ranked former champs and get the better of them. I’m going to keep proving myself and fighting whoever they put in front of me. Without representation no one is going to hand anything to me, I’m going to go out there and get it. I’m going to Pull a Sergio Martinez and earn my due. Anything could happen and I know what I got. The only thing that is heart wrenching is that if you don’t love this sport and understand it, it will rip your spirit. You have to love this sport, and I do. I will go as far as I can till I don’t want to do it anymore. I will prove myself with my fists.
Cam has the potential to be a big name for the East Coast as well as boxing. A tough, dedicated athlete who is not afraid to get in the ring with anyone. Cam has the type of personality that this sport needs. He is a fan as well as a fighter and know the sport very well. Many fighters are focused on getting that big name, as well as that padded record to show that they are the greatest. Fighters such as Cam are rare, and a serious threat for any weight class. Be sure to follow this young professional on his quest for greatness. The next chapter is this Saturday night in North Carolina as Cam looks to improve to 4 and 0. This man is defiantly a name to follow, and hopefully be the next champion to come out of Brooklyn.