After being manhandled by the overwhelming and obnoxious American, Gavin Rees warned WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns to avoid scrapping WBC lightweight titleholder “The Problem” Adrien Broner like a plague.
Despite the Welshman’s admirable determination and aggressiveness, the 23-year-old Broner (26-0, 22 KOs) outclassed Rees (37-2-1, 18 KOs) to earn a fifth round TKO triumph and successfully defend his belt on Saturday night in front of a raucous crowd at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Broner, who is often compared to “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather due to dominating roughly 300 amateur pugilists, twice floored Rees before trainer Gary Lockett mercifully halted the pounding at 2 minutes, 59 seconds into the round.
"To be honest, I can't see Ricky getting close to beating him," said Rees, 32, a past WBA light welterweight king who was born in Newbridge. "It pains me to say this, but Broner's too good. His hands are so fast that Ricky won't even see the punches coming. He also hits extremely hard. He has phenomenal power for a lightweight.”
Rees, who previously hadn’t been overcome since falling to Ukrainian Andriy Kotelnik by a 12th round TKO nearly five years ago this March in 2008, continued praising Broner.
"Broner is far and away the best I've been in with. He really is something. No-one has ever treated me like that in the ring. I've sparred with Ricky. Sorry, I can't see him handling this boy."
The 29-year-old Burns, also past WBO super-featherweight and Commonwealth super featherweight royalty, most recently exited the squared circle with an impressive fourth round victory over Brit Kevin Mitchell on September 22.
Burns, a Scotsman widely regarded as a truly upstanding man in a sport loaded with lowlifes, is slated to meet tough Mexican Miguel Vazquez on March 16 at Wembley Arena in London.
Roger “Pit” Perron is a venerable boxing trainer from Brockton (Mass.) who now works with Mike and Rich Cappiello at their gym, Cappiello Brothers Boxing and Training.
Perron expected Broner to easily trump Rees.
“Broner looks like the next great,” said Perron, 76, who worked with International Boxing Hall of Famer Marvelous Marvin Hagler (62-3-2, 52 KOs) at the Petronelli Brothers Gym. “He looks like he’ll become the next superstar as today’s big guns begin fading away.”
Broner, a cocky and flamboyant wunderkind who is ranked as the number one lightweight in the world by BoxRec and the sixth preeminent pound-for-pound fighter by The Ring, is undoubtedly “the next great” in the sport.