As much as an 80-1 favorite in some gambling circles, Broner took out a very game and very aggressive Gavin Rees in five rounds when Gary Lockett, Rees' trainer, waved the towel for Rees as the fifth came to an end. When Lockett waved the towel, Broner was in the middle of a ferocious and fast flurry of punches with most of them hitting Rees right in the face.
In all fairness to Rees, he performed much better than anyone gave him a chance to against Broner, evidenced by how much of a favorite Broner was. But Rees did win the first two rounds on my and many people's scorecards for the bout as he came at Broner from the beginning with no fear and an aggressive attack.
The problem with such a mindset and strategy against someone like Broner is what created the fight's short length: Rees literally had no chance of matching Broner's combination of speed and accuracy when punching. Rees had two good rounds to start the fight where Broner appeared to be off to his usual deceptively slow start. From the moment round three began until the bout ended, it was clear that the switch was flipped and now Broner was ready to go.
Both Broner's hand speed and accuracy were on display right away in round three and the tide turned just as quickly. The best visual of this in round three was Broner's first big flurry of punches coming with Rees on the ropes, a perfect place for Broner to tee off on an opponent.
Broner's first knockdown of the bout came around a minute into round four from a short right that hit Rees right on the chin. The shot knocked Rees flat, but he did get up. Broner's second knockdown may have been what prompted Lockett to have the towel in hand and be in the ready position to wave the bout off during the final minute of round five. It was during that final minute that Rees was hit and knocked to a knee (ruled a knockdown) from a left to the body, possibly the liver. After that, it was all Broner until Lockett leaped onto the apron and saved his fighter from a greater beating.
With the win, Broner made his first successful defense of his WBC lightweight title. Broner won the title from Antonio DeMarco last November.
The preliminary fight on the HBO broadcast was originally scheduled to be the rematch between Johnathon Banks and Seth Mitchell after Banks' earned a shocking knockout victory over Mitchell last year. However, an injury to Banks' thumb caused that bout to be delayed. So in its place came Sakio Bika's one-sided win over Nikola Sjekloca.
Bika's win was primarily due to two punches: his hook (no matter which hand) and his right uppercut. The hooks were used by Bika throughout when working Sjekloca's body. That turned out to be fairly often and was done with low-thrown hooks that more often than not were treading a fine line between perfectly acceptable and a low-blow. The right uppercut was always aimed at Sjekloca's chin and also had a great connection rate during the bout. Bika was wild at times with his punches, noticeably whiffing on attempted punches, but it never negatively impacted him during the bout because Sjekloca didn't have the speed, movement, or punch selection to make it negatively impact Bika.
Slekloca's best rounds turned out to be rounds five through eight. These were the rounds where Sjekloca best held his own in exchanges with Bika and managed to land his best shots of the bout. However, none of this helped Sjekloca win rounds. Bika didn't escape this win unmarked as there was very noticeable swelling right by his left eye. Since the swelling wasn't on or right by the eye, it wasn't something Bika's corner appeared worried about, but it certainly was noticeable by the bout's end.
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