Another boxing masterclass is expected from Adrien Broner tonight as the two-weight world title holder makes the maiden defence of his WBC lightweight belt against Gavin Rees in Atlantic City.
At the tender age of 23, Cincinnati-born Broner has established himself as the future of boxing Stateside and now has the weight of expectation on his shoulders to go out and prove it in the coming years.
An obstacle in that road is former world light-welterweight champion and seasoned campaigner Gavin Rees, who brings over an impressive 37-1-1 record from the picturesque setting of the Welsh Valleys in the United Kingdom.
Rees, 32, has excelled since dropping down from 140 to 135lbs after losing his WBA title to Andriy Kotelnik on home soil and has steadily rebuilt himself into a formidable lightweight since then.
‘The Rock’ has the ability to grind opponents down and take them out in the later rounds, although Rees faces his sternest test tonight and will need to be at his very best to stand a chance of even making it that far himself.
Broner is a combination-slickster with a defence often compared to that of pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. and his ability to avoid punches can be just as affective as his formidable power in throwing them.
The shuddering force possessed by ‘The Problem’ has taken out ten of his 25 opponents in the first round alone, not to mention that only four of those have even heard the final bell, and Rees will be keen to avoid being just another statistic on Broner’s record.
I feel Rees can give a good account of himself at the Boardwalk Hall tonight and take the fight into the final third, proving that he belongs at world-class level again after an absence of five years.
Ultimately though, with Broner’s out-of-this-world movement and superior height and reach advantages, I just can’t see how Rees can get in range enough times to do significant damage to the champion.
Broner, for me would have to have an off-night in the ilk of the Ponce De Leon or Quintero performances to give Rees a hope of pulling off an upset, although somehow I can’t see that happening at this stage of the American’s career.
A later round stoppage for Broner looks to be where the safe money would go, although with some bookies quoting odds of 80-1 on for the favourite, I am not sure it would be a worthwhile investment.