By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Gavin Rees admits Adrien Broner is a very talented fighter.
Yet while some of the things Broner does in the ring resemble the exploits of the sport’s undefeated pound-for-pound king, Rees doesn’t believe Broner is boxing’s next Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“He’s nowhere near as good as Mayweather, to be honest,” said Rees, who’ll box Broner for the WBC lightweight title Saturday night in Atlantic City. “The comparisons are there. He’s got a little guard, like that [imitating Mayweather’s shoulder roll], messing about, cockiness. Let him have it. We’ve got a plan. We’re sure it’s going to work, so I can’t wait until Saturday night.”
The 32-year-old Rees feels as though Cincinnati’s Broner has benefited from masterful matchmaking more than anything. The Welshman wasn’t even as impressed as most when Broner dominated Mexico’s Antonio DeMarco (28-3-1, 21 KOs) before their one-sided fight was stopped in the eighth round Nov. 17 in Atlantic City.
“We’ll give him something to think about Saturday night,” Rees said. “That’s for sure. A lot of his fights go his own way. Even against DeMarco, I don’t know what DeMarco was doing. He was coming in close and he wasn’t throwing nothing back. You fight me close like that, I can assure you he’ll [take] a good pounding, as [Americans] like to put it.”
Broner (25-0, 21 KOs) is an enormous favorite over Rees (37-1-1, 18 KOs), but the former WBA 140-pound champion claims that’ll just make pulling off a huge upset that much sweeter Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall (HBO; 10:30 p.m. ET/PT).
“I really couldn’t give a [crap], to be honest,” Rees said of the odds on the fight. “I’m an easygoing guy and confident. I was a big underdog when I won my first world title. I went in, took the fight away from him, dominated that fight and I’m going to do it again.”
Rees defeated France’s Souleymane M’baye (39-4-1, 21 KOs) by unanimous decision to win the WBA junior welterweight crown in July 2007 in Cardiff, Wales. He lost that title in his first defense to Ukraine’s Andriy Kotelnyk (31-4-1, 13 KOs), who stopped Rees in the 12th round of their March 2008 fight in Cardiff.
Rees re-dedicated himself to boxing after Kotelnyk’s TKO win against him, changed trainers from Enzo Calzaghe to Gary Lockett and firmly believes he is ready to shock boxing fans Saturday night.
“A lot of you Americans say I’m going to get blown away in one or two rounds,” Rees said. “I’ve been boxing 23 years. I know I got stopped in the last round of the Kotelnyk fight, but that was just lack of discipline to boxing. Everyone knows my story, how I didn’t train properly, didn’t take boxing seriously. So I’ve been boxing 23 years and I’ve never really been knocked out, knocked on the floor in sparring, amateur or professional. So I’ll let you believe what you want to believe until Saturday night.”
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.