Adrien Broner (26-0, 22 KO's) defended his WBC lightweight title with ease against a feisty Gavin Rees (37-2-1, 18 KO's) on Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. At odds as long as 80-1 in some circles, no one expected Rees to give "The Problem" any meaningful challenge. Those expectations were met as Broner outgunned his undersized opponent, forcing the Welshman's corner to throw in the towel as the fifth round ended. It leaves us once again pondering just how special this 23-year old champion truly is and if there is anyone out there who can solve the problem that is Adrien Broner.
Prior to the fight, HBO's Max Kellerman asked Broner how he views Rees as a follow-up to his masterful performance against Antonio DeMarco last November.
"Same s**t, different toilet," the brash Broner responded.
That is essentially what we witnessed on Saturday night as Broner was quickly able to neutralize the aggressiveness of Rees with far superior hand speed and accuracy. Not unlike his fight with DeMarco, Broner displayed a willingness to stand inside and go to work, turning it on in the third round and never looking back.
Although he does not have the most glowing of names on his resume over a 26-fight career, there is no denying the poise, polish, power and technique of the undefeated Broner. The only question that remains is with respect to his chin as none of his previous opponents have come close to landing a clean shot that has rocked the defensively-skilled fighter.
One could point to his March 2011 fight with veteran Daniel Ponce De Leon as the most difficult of his career to date. It was the first and last time Broner had gone a full 10 rounds, winning a closely contested unanimous decision. Since that time, only DeMarco can be considered the most dangerous fighter he has faced who might have been capable of exposing a weakness in the rising star's armor. Broner disposed of him rather easily with an eighth round TKO, converting a good legion of doubters in the process.
With his current ranking among the top three on some pound-for-pound lists, the remaining segment of doubters may not be thoroughly sold on Broner until he moves up to 140 pounds where greater opposition exists. Rating him ahead of the legendary Juan Manuel Marquez, who has given Manny Pacquiao the toughest fights of his brilliant career and most recently knocked the Filipino star out cold, without having fought any premiere fighters may be difficult for some to digest.
Marquez may have no interest in facing a young lion like Broner which would likely only serve the purpose of reinforcing the young champion's presence as a future star rather than putting an exclamation point on the end of the Mexican's marvelous career. Yet, it would be the kind of test Broner would need against a complete, elite fighter with exceptional counterpunching ability and proven power to solidify his own greatness.
While Broner has shown he can handle pressure fighters, none of his previous foes match the power and force of a Brandon Rios, Mike Alvarado or Lucas Matthysse. Given the ongoing promotional feud between Top Rank and Golden Boy, Rios and Alvarado are essentially excluded from the equation. Based on matchmaking to this point, it is not expected that Golden Boy would risk either Broner's or Matthysse's future revenue generating potential by pitting them against each other any time soon.
Amir Khan is in the process of rebuilding his career and would likely move up to 147 before his team would put him in with Broner. WBA/WBC light welterweight champion Danny Garcia would perhaps make the most sense and be a very good match-up based on his aggressive style, yet not terrifying skills that would cause Golden Boy to balk on the fight.
Broner is a tremendous talent and one who may not have any weaknesses, but it's time for some different s**t to prove this to us once and for all. Otherwise, this will be the ongoing problem for him.
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