Gavin Rees ďBroner WONíT be knocking me outĒ
By Michael J Jones
Welshman Gavin Rees is supremely confident ahead of his WBC lightweight showdown with Adrien Broner next month. This is despite being almost completely written off by scores of experts and fans in the US. The bout in Atlantic City on February 16th will be European champion Reesí third world title fight after a brief spell as WBA light-welterweight champion in 2007-08.
The stocky Welsh fighter has been largely avoided on the world scene in recent years and finds his biggest fight occurring at the age of 32. The 37-1-1 (18) boxer is fresh for his age though and has barely lost a round in the last four years in winning Prizefighter, British and European titles.
Broner at 23-years-old and 25-0 (21) has impressed hugely in his short career. Already a two-weight world champion, the slick Ohio fighter had a big 2012, scoring three knockouts over good opposition including a dominant eight-round stoppage of Antonio DeMarco to lift his WBC belt last time out.
Underdog Rees isnít intimidated though and insists that on his biggest night he will prove victorious. I caught up with Gavin a month before the fight to discuss the Broner fight and to ask how he will pull off the upset.
LF) How is training going for the Adrien Broner fight next month?
GR) Itís going well. I just sparred nine rounds today and Iíll really step it up in the next few weeks and spar some good boys. Weíve had plenty of offers for sparring so itíll be top quality.
LF) Have you trained solidly since the aborted John Murray fight?
GR) I had a week off and then I was ticking over when we heard we may get the Broner fight just before Christmas. Soon as we heard that we stepped it up again. I was pretty fit already when we started which is better than entering camp from scratch.
LF) Many, especially the Americans, are writing you off for this contest. How do you react to the harsh comments?
GR) I just say let them carry on. They talk like I havenít even got arms or legs or something (laughs). Broner is a good talented kid but Iím very confident for this fight and am training twice a day to be ready for him. Heís a big puncher but I wonít be standing in front of him.
LF) Can you tell us anything about the tactics you will use in the fight?
GR) Well I wonít do what (Antonio) DeMarco did. Broner is a good puncher but DeMarco just leaned on him and let him punch away. Why he did that I donít know but I wonít be doing the same. Heís a very sharp counter puncher so I have to be careful not to get caught with anything silly.
Iíll be moving my head and throwing punches in bunches and not standing in front of him. Me and Gary have worked on two game-plans for the fight and Iíll be in the best shape possible.
LF) A few are comparing the fight to Calzaghe vs Lacy as in the Welsh veteran vs the undefeated puncher. Do you see the similarities to that fight?
GR) Yeah of course itís exactly the same scenario. The Americans pump their fighters up no end but itíll be the same as that fight in mine (beating him like Joe did Lacy).
LF) Is Adrien Broner the best fighter you will have fought in your career?
GR) Yes of course he is definitely. Itís a massive fight for me and Broner is a future pound-for-pound number one. Itís not just big but it will open doors for a unification fight for me with Ricky Burns and maybe another big fight out there (in America).
LF) What is your prediction for the fight?
GR) No prediction but I will win. Doesnít matter how whether itís early or the distance. Iím a fighterís fighter and Iíll fight anybody anywhere. This is a chance many can only dream about, this will put me on the map everywhere and Iím coming to win.
Some are saying heíll knock me out in one or two rounds but in 24 years (of boxing) nobody has ever done that to me so itís not happening this time.
LF) All the best for the fight Gavin.
GR) Ok thanks.
Broner in action against Ponce De Leon: