By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Adrien Broner aggravated Gavin Rees enough Tuesday to lure the huge underdog into predicting an unlikely knockout victory Saturday night.
The unbeaten WBC lightweight champion called his challenger ugly, said his hands wouldn’t be able to miss Rees’ watermelon-sized head, mocked Rees’ height and repeatedly refused to properly pronounce Rees’ name. The 32-year-old Rees, who wasn’t nearly as amused as members of Broner’s entourage, eventually countered by stating during a press conference at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill that he can’t wait “to knock this prick out.”
Rees’ bold proclamation, particularly when you consider his modest knockout ratio (46 percent), only initiated another Broner barrage.
“I don’t ever try to go for the KO,” Broner, 23, said after the press conference. “And then he said he was going to knock me out. Be serious, man. You don’t knock people out. You don’t knock people out. See, I’m starting to think he’s on that stuff Eloy Perez was on, because he said he was going to knock me out, too. And he was high.”
The light-punching Perez (23-1-2, 7 KOs), whom Broner battered on his way to a fourth-round knockout win last Feb. 25 in St. Louis, tested positive for cocaine following their fight.
The 12-round bout between Broner (25-0, 21 KOs), of Cincinnati, and Wales’ Rees (37-1-1, 18 KOs) will headline HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” broadcast from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. The telecast will start at 10 p.m. ET/PT with a 12-round WBC super middleweight elimination bout that’ll match Cameroon’s Sakio Bika (30-5-2, 21 KOs) against Montenegro’s Nikola Sjekloca (25-0, 7 KOs).
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.