By J.D: February 16th at the Boardwalk Hall Atlantic City will see Gavin ‘The Rock’ Rees (37-1-1 18 ko’s) lock horns with WBC Lightweight Champion Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner (25-0-0 21 ko’s).
Rees has been given little chance by many of upsetting the odds, but as a former world champion at Light Welterweight and the current European and most recently crowned British Champion of the lightweight division has he perhaps been written off too soon as just another learning curve for the highly touted Broner?
with a career spanning 15 years which has seen him in the ring 39 times with one loss and a draw the only blemishes on his record just how much should people be overlooking him?
Rees upset the odds back in 2007 to claim the WBA Light Welterweight title with a 12 round unanimous decision over Souleymane M’Baye (39-4-1 21 ko’s). His success as a world champion however was short lived as he surrendered his title to Andreas Kotelnik (31-4-1 13ko’s) in his very next fight via TKO in the 12th round.
Since then Rees has been successful in winning prizefighter and also picking up the European and British title at the lightweight division. After vacating the British title, he was to pick it up once more in his last outing a TKO 9th round victory over Derry Matthews (32-8-1 17 ko’s) a rematch of their Draw back in 2011. Derry Matthews had just come off the back of an impressive stoppage win of Anthony Crolla (24-4-0 9 ko’s).
Rees originally had been penned in to meet Manchester’s John Murray (31-2-0 18 ko’s) on the December 8th ‘Christmas Cracker Bill’ last year with the winner to go and fight for a world title. However John Murray was forced to pull out when a brain scan detected a swollen pituitary gland in the brain.
With perhaps what could be Rees last chance at World title glory will we witness a man hungry for one last chance of success or will we see an aging Welsh warrior?
At the age of just 23, and having turned professional just as far back as five years ago Cincinnati man Broner is already a two weight World Champion. Broner started off his professional boxing career in good fashion scoring three first round knockouts.
Despite what many called a controversial decision against Daniel Ponce De León (44-4-0 35 ko’s), Broner climbed his way to the top and went on to pick up his first world title in the super-feather weight division with an impressive third round knockout of Vicente Martin Rodriguez (34-3-1 19 ko’s) for the vacant WBO title.
Following two defenses he remained undefeated but lost his title on the scales when he failed to reach the super-feather weight limit for his fight with Vicente Escobedo (25-5-0 14 ko’s) who he stopped in the 5th round.
This led Broner to vacate and move up to the lightweight division where he picked up his second world title with his first fight at the weight defeating Antonio DeMarco (28-3-1 21 ko’s) at the Boardwalk Hall via TKO in the 8th round to pick up the WBC title.
With a Unification fight with Scotland’s WBO Lightweight Champion Ricky Burns (35-2-0 10 ko’s) failing to materialize, Rees has his shot at world title glory once again.
Broner’s star continues to shine high with him even being dubbed as the new Floyd Mayweather (43-0-0 26 ko’s) with his elusive counter-punching style, and will go into the ring full of confidence knowing nothing other than leaving it with a win.
With the pressure firmly on Broner as the favorite will he continue to shine and thrive under what could be a grueling fight, shattering the dreams of Rees in the process, or can the underdog rewrite a script that we have all read before. February 16th will give us all the answer.