Adrien “The Problem” Broner, of Cincinnati, Ohio, claims that he won’t know much about his opponent when he enters the ring on Feb. 16 for his HBO-televised clash opposite former 140-pound beltholder Gavin Rees, of Wales, in defense of his WBC lightweight title at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
But what Broner (25-0, 21 knockouts) does know about Rees (37-1-1, 18 KOs) is all that he feels he needs to.
“Just because I don’t know much about Gavin, what is it, ‘Reed?’ or ‘Reese?’ I really don’t know him. I’m just saying. I really don’t know him,” said Broner, a talented 23-year-old, stylistic boxer-puncher during last month’s national conference call with media members.
“Just because I don’t know much of him, that makes him more dangerous because I don’t know what he can bring. I don’t know if he hits like Mike Tyson or has more speed than me. I don’t know. I just don’t know much of him. But what I’m saying is that whatever he brings to the table, I’m going to be ready for it.”
A former WBO junior lightweight titletholder who will pursue his sixth straight knockout against the 32-year-old Rees, Broner is returning to Atlantic City, where he scored November’s eighth-round knockout that dethroned Antonio DeMarco on HBO in his last fight.
Rees is 10-0-1, with five knockouts, including the past two straight, since a 12th-round knockout loss to Andriy Kotelnyk dethroned him as WBA junior welterweight titleholder in March of 2008.
Prior to facing Kotelnyk, Rees, himself, had dethroned Souleymayne M’baye for the crown in July of 2007 in a fight that was considered a major upset.
“I’m fully confident in a victory,” said Rees, who will be making his United States debut against Broner. “I’m a massive underdog on the odds but we don’t see it like that. I’m coming over here to win.”
Broner said that he has not studied Rees, whose past two triumphs have been over Anthony Mezaache and Derry Mathews in the seventh and ninth rounds in March and July of last year, respectively.
“I don’t study their best move, I don’t study their best punch. Because whether you have the best puncher or your best move, all of that means nothing if you can’t land the shot,” said Broner.
“You don’t have to move just to not get hit. There’s a lot of certain ways, you can do certain things that you just won’t get hit and I was blessed with the talent and I can do it all. Like I said, I can brawl like a bang, but at the end of the day, people don’t hit me much.”
Broner is, nevertheless, taking Rees very seriously.
“My main focus is just staying sharp, staying focused and to be mentally and physically prepared for this fight, and I will be. No fight is a stepping stone,” said Broner.
“Because in any fight, you can be knocked out or beat. So like I’ve said before, and I’m going to make this real clear for everybody who is listening, every fight, I train for every fight like it’s the biggest and the last fight of my life.”
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com