ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Although lightweight titleholder Adrien Broner was a prohibitive favorite to beat Gavin Rees — a 40-to-1 long shot on at least one gambling website — it was a fun fight for what turned out to be the expected Broner blowout.
Broner dropped Rees twice and retained his 135-pound world title on a fifth-round knockout when Rees’ trainer, Gary Lockett, threw in the towel at Boardwalk Hall before a crowd of 4,812 on Saturday night. But it was quite interesting getting to that point.
Broner-Rees punch stats
|– Courtesy of CompuBox|
Rees, a former junior welterweight titlist from Wales, was a pesky fighter who showed great grit and determination. He landed more shots than anyone probably expected and had the crowd cheering, but Broner didn’t seem too troubled.
Broner, with a significant height advantage (although the official tale of the tape laughably listed them both at 5-foot-7), stayed calm and focused and went to work, eventually turning the fight into a rout.
“I knew he was going to come to fight. He’s a world-class fighter,” said Broner, who is known as “The Problem.” “He kept coming through every shot like it was his best shot. I knew he would hang. He’s a world-class fighter.
“When you have two world-class fighters going toe-to-toe, it’s going to be a fight. He’s tougher than a steak that’s well done.”
Broner didn’t do much of anything in the first round, but the fighters traded quite a bit in the second round. A right hand hurt Rees, but then the challenger landed a flush shot when Broner was looking at referee Earl Brown, which brought the crowd to life.
Still, it was clear that Broner’s size, speed and overall skills were going to be too much. He badly hurt Rees (37-2-1, 18 KOs) in the third round with a fast eight-punch combination while Rees was trapped on the ropes.
In the fourth round, Broner landed a tremendous right uppercut to send Rees to the canvas, flat on his back. Rees, 32, was shaky when the fight resumed, and Broner landed several hard shots before the round concluded.
Broner (26-0, 22 KOs), 23, of Cincinnati, was in command in the fifth round when he landed a digging left hand to Rees’ liver. Rees dropped to a knee and was clearly winded. He made it to his feet and was game, but as Broner was teeing off, Lockett climbed up the steps and threw in the white towel, prompting Brown to call off the fight at 2 minutes, 59 seconds.
Lockett is familiar with Boardwalk Hall and knockout losses. He was knocked out by Kelly Pavlik in the same ring in a 2008 world middleweight title fight.
“I tried to pull him out after the fourth round,” Locket said. “But Gavin said, ‘There’s no way I am quitting.’ He’s so tough and so proud. He wouldn’t let me.”
Broner closed the show by landing 40 of 57 power shots, according to CompuBox.
“I got reckless in the third and fourth rounds, and that was pretty much the end of it,” Rees said. “I disagree with Gary pulling me out, but he knows I would have boxed on until I was knocked out cold. I was always going to get up. Quitting is not a part of my way of life.”