By Clive Bernath: From the very first time I saw Gavin Rees fight I remember scribbling the following words on my notepad, ‘This kid loves to fight’. And every time I have seen him since I’ve not changed my mind. Yes, Gavin can box a bit of course he can, afterall the 32 year-old from Newbridge in Wales would not have been crowned British, European and world champion if he did not have a few cute moves. Ultimately, though, the former WBA light welterweight champ is a come forward in your face brawler that never takes a backward step.
The other thing I like about the short, stocky one is that unlike a lot of boxers these days, he does not care who he fights, when or where, which is why he will be standing in the opposite corner to the formidable undefeated puncher Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Saturday(Feb 16) night.
To many boxing fans and media alike, Broner, 25-0-(21), is the future, the man to not only replace Floyd Mayweather Jr as the pound for pound boxing king, but also lead the fight to make boxing a high profile sport once again.
Make no mistake Rees is a huge underdog with the bookies and if he can pull off the unthinkable and take Broner’s WBC lightweight crown then it will certainly equal Lloyd Honeyghan’s incredible sixth round defeat of Donald Curry in September 1986. Ironically, Honeyghan’s famous win also took place in Atlantic City.
As I said Rees likes nothing more than to fight, so much so in fact that fighting takes precedence over money. Speaking about when he was first offered the fight Rees said: “The guy said we’ll discuss the money. I said don’t worry about me, get me the fight. I’m a real fighter. I’ll fight anybody, like I said, I’ll go anywhere. So, the fight first, money second to me. It’s a massive fight and a massive opportunity for me so I’m looking forward to it.”
Rees fully understands that he is a massive underdog against the slick undefeated 23 year-old from Cincinnati, Ohio and he did not look good in his last fight but he insists he will be ready for Broner.
“I’m a better fighter than I’ve been in my last two performances, my best was when I went to Paris, I went over there and beat the European Champion,” said Rees. ”And back at home in my early career everyone knows I didn’t live the life of a true fighter, partying a lot and didn’t live the lifestyle and I’ve turned it round now before it’s too late.”
It is true, there were rumours a plenty about Rees not living the life of a professional Prizefighter and he did go on the missing list for a while but there is no doubt he has re-established himself as one of the world’s top lightweights. Whether he can shock the boxing world and defeat Broner in his own backyard remains to be seen, we shall find out on Saturday night.
February 12, 2013