Cincinnati’s Adrien Broner will be defending his WBC Lightweight Championship against Gavin Rees of Newport, Wales at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Saturday Feb 16. Rees should be able to put up a decent challenge since he’s a former world champion as well as the current European and British lightweight title holder. However, he’s never faced anybody in Broner’s class as of yet.
Broner, who has suddenly become one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world, will have to take Rees seriously as he’s capable of pulling off an upset if the champion is too confident or hasn’t trained hard enough. Rees will enter the ring with an impressive 37-1-1 record with 18 Kos while the undefeated Broner is 25-0 with 21 Kos.
Broner has the advantage in several departments, most notably in age. He’s just 23 years old while Rees is now 32. He also has a 71-inch reach, which is quite an advantage over Rees’ 64 inches. However, both men are 5-feet-7-inches tall. Broner has moved up in weight over the past year after winning his first title belt in the super featherweight division. He was having trouble making the 130 lb. weight limit and moved up to 135 lb. He won the title by dismantling former champion Antonio DeMarco back on November 17.
Rees has fought much of his career as a junior welterweight and won the title by beating former champ Souleymane M’Baye by a 12-round unanimous decision in London, England in July of 2007. However, his height was a bit of a disadvantage at the 140 lb. limit so he decided to move down to lightweight. He’s had five bouts as a lightweight now and his speed looks better as has his overall skills. He turned pro back in 1998
Rees was stopped in by Andriy Kotelnik of Ukraine in the 12th round of his first defense of the junior welterweight crown in Cardiff, Wales in March of 2008. This could be in the back of his mind when the bell rings against Broner, who has the power to stop just about anybody he faces. Rees will certainly be the underdog in this bout and with there not being any expectations resting on his shoulders he feels he really doesn’t have anything to lose.
If Rees is going to beat Broner he’ll need to be in control of the ring and be the aggressor. He needs to make sure he covers his body well and has to be accurate in his punching. Needless to add, he’ll need to display a strong chin if he hopes to stand up to Broner’s speedy and powerful shots. Rees is a pretty intelligent boxer and will realize that he needs to use his jab to set things up and to use it as a defensive strategy.
Broner likes to set the pace in his bouts and he’s a pretty good body puncher. He needs to keep some distance between himself and the challenger and theoretically, that shouldn’t be a problem for him due to his reach advantage. Broner’s defense isn’t the greatest in the world and he will be caught with a few shots, but Rees doesn’t have the power to stop him. Once Broner has felt Rees power he’ll grow in confidence and start to take the fight to him.
The best way to fight Broner is to be aggressive and put him on the back foot. It’s obvious that the American has loads of talent, but nobody really knows how big his heart is yet since he hasn’t been truly tested in the ring. Unfortunately, it probably won’t happen in this fight either, even though Rees will put up a valiant effort. Look for Broner to retain his title by a stoppage anytime after the opening bell.