Gary Lockett believes Gavin Rees has won the first battle with Adrien Broner – dominating the fast-talking champ in the trash talk stakes ahead of their WBC World lightweight title clash in Atlantic City on Saturday February 16, live on Sky Sports.
Lockett has leant his words of wisdom to Rees in their extensive New York training camp ahead of his clash with Broner and the former middleweight contender has urged his charge to be confident in the mental approach the pair honed in the Big Apple.
“This is Gavin’s 40th fight and he brings a wealth of experience to Atlantic City – that’s a fact that has been overwhelmingly overlooked,” said Lockett. “It has been said that he should never have taken the fight. What a stupid statement to make as he sits at number six in The Ring magazine rankings – testament to the fact that Gavin has both earned and deserves this shot! Broner tried to get under Gavin’s skin at the press conference on Tuesday with some childish and disrespectful antics, but Gavin had all the answers. Gavin outwitted him and he hated every minute of it.”
The road to Rees’ shot at a second World title can be traced back to ‘The Rock’ teaming up with Lockett in March 2010. Along with Rees, Lockett’s gym in Cardiff is home to rising stars Lewis Rees, Liam Williams and recent Betfair Prizefighter runner-up Dale Evans, former WBO, European and British cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli and former European middleweight champion Kerry Hope. Lockett’s reputation as a trainer in Britain is blossoming but he remains focused on getting the best out of his boys.
“We get on really well but it's no secret that Gavin used to be a party animal,” said Lockett. “When he approached me and asked me to train him I read him the riot act. He responded with a remarkable attitude and discipline toward his training that has led him to the shot at Broner on Saturday and I can only praise him – he's a joy to work with. It also helps that he has a very good team around him with Renzo Algieri brought on board as nutritionist and Bill Wilson of Muscle Finesse who provides sports supplements for all the boxers and is in partnership with me in the development of the state-of-the-art gym.
“It’s flattering that people are saying really nice things about me but truth be told, I’ve got a lot to learn and I find the best way possible is to learn from my fighters. You have to learn from every fighter’s habits and there’s no one magic formula that works for everyone – you have to work with them day in, day out to get it right for them.”
Lockett called time on his own career after challenging Kelly Pavlik for the WBC, WBO and The Ring magazine titles in June 2008. The 36 year old returns to the Boardwalk Hall venue where he threw his final punch, but with his new career path and life outside work both on the up, he has no regrets.
“I didn't really have any intention of staying in boxing,” said Lockett. “I’ve a life outside of the sport, I’m a family man and I had had 22 years of it. After suffering boxing politics related inactivity I’d just had enough. After giving it up I was doing my property developing but then Ricky Owen asked me to help him out and it just snowballed from there and I'm really enjoying it. Sometimes you can't find the words to express what you want a fighter to do but that's the challenge that you are set as a trainer. If it was easy everyone would be doing it and everyone would have stables full of successful fighters.
“I was Pavlik's last win as one of the pound-for-pounders because after that Bernard Hopkins outclassed him and showed everyone what I'd been saying before I faced him – he's very good at what he does but a little one-dimensional and not an elite fighter,” said Lockett. “I got stick for saying that but Hopkins showed what I meant. I didn't have the style to exploit what I was talking about, he was too good for me, but I'd already fallen out of love with the sport long before that and it was a fight that I could have done a lot better in really. I'm not making any excuses, it just so happened that when I finally got my shot at the title it was against a pound-for-pounder.”