For the fight, Broner landed 149 of 309 blows (48 percent). Rees was credited with landing 88 of 262 (34 percent). Even if Rees was disappointed by Lockett’s intervention, a knockout seemed imminent — it was only a matter of time.
“We knew Gavin was going to come in, and I wanted Adrien to take his time and pick his punches,” trainer Mike Stafford said. “We knew Gavin was going to be game but make mistakes. Adrien countered each mistake he made.”
“I’m disappointed with my performance,” said Rees, who moved down in weight in 2010 and eventually won the European title. “I made a lot of mistakes. I think I have a better skill set than that. I didn’t show it.”
Broner, a former junior lightweight titlist, moved up in weight in November and stopped Antonio DeMarco — considered by many to be the top lightweight in the world going into the fight — in the eighth round, also at Boardwalk Hall. Now a lightweight, Broner is running into the same issue he had at 130 pounds: a lack of significant opponents to face.
With Rees out of the way, the question again becomes: Who’s next? Broner fights in a division with little star power and no big names. Many have called for him to move up to the talent-rich junior welterweight division, but he has said he isn’t quite ready.
Still, there is one potentially interesting fight for him at lightweight — a unification bout with Ricky Burns of Scotland. Burns will fight Miguel Vazquez in another unification bout on March 16 in London, and Broner would like to fight him if he wins.
“If I fought Ricky Burns, he would get burned up,” Broner said. “I want to fight him, but if he doesn’t want to fight me, oh well.”
Broner was Burns’ mandatory challenger when Burns held a junior lightweight belt, but he moved up in weight and didn’t fight him. Broner went on to win the vacant title at 135.
“I don’t care what they put in front of me,” Broner said. “I will fight them.”
If you ask Rees, Broner probably would beat whoever “them” is.
“He hits incredibly hard for a lightweight,” Rees said. “I knew he was going to be powerful, but his power really stunned me.
“Broner is the best I’ve been in with. He’s not a superstar in the making. He’s already there. Nobody ever treated me like that in a boxing ring. Best of luck to him in the future. He is going to go a very, very long way.”
Maybe all the way to No. 1 on boxing’s pound-for-pound lists.