Welshman Gavin “The Rock” Rees last night became the latest fighter to attempt but fail to solve “The Problem” that is Adrien Broner.
In front of a packed Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, the Newbridge pugilist aimed to win a world title for the second time, but was completely outclassed by WBC lightweight champion Broner.
Rees was fired up by what he deemed a “lack of respect” shown by Broner during pre-fight press conferences, where the American claimed not to know Rees’ name or anything about him.
He was further angered by reports that some bookmakers were offering odds as long as 80-1 to emerge victorious.
Whilst those odds were frankly ridiculous, they were indicative of the pre-fight consensus: that Rees stood almost no chance of upsetting the brash Broner, who is undefeated and is considered a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter.
Everything about Broner – from his arrogant trash-talk, to his shoulder roll defence, to his lightning fast lead right hand – is reminiscent of a young Floyd Mayweather.
Rees started the brighter of the two, and attempted a few sizzling left hooks to knock Broner out of his stride, but from the start of the second round onwards, the American took complete control.
Round three saw Rees take several powerful shots to the head, and by round four he was facing a barrage of combinations from extraordinary angles.
Broner had his man on the canvas after a minute and a half of the round, with Rees doing well to defend himself long enough to hear the bell.
Round five was one-way traffic and Broner knocked down Rees again with a body shot, although there was some controversy as the referee appeared to be calling a break when the shot landed. Rees gamely continued but Broner proved Apollo 440 wrong by stopping The Rock with a second to go.
For Rees defeat to Broner was no disgrace, considering how expected the outcome was.
He remains a worthy operator at domestic and European level, but can now probably be considered a busted flush at world level.
For Broner, who now has 26 wins from 26 fights with 22 knockouts, superstardom beckons.
British fight fans may well be hearing a lot from him in the near future as a long-awaited match-up with Scottish WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns looks increasingly inevitable.
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