Broner vs. Rees: Defeating Unknown Won't Elevate The Problem's Star Status

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIFebruary 15, 2013

February 25, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA;  Adrien Broner shows off for the crowd in a fight against Eloy Perez during the Arch Enemies at the Scottrade Center. Broner won by knock out in the fourth round. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Gavin Rees is not a bum.

He's 37-1 with 18 KOs, and he's held a major title in his career, but he has never faced a fighter of Adrien Broner's class.

Part of the reason for that is because when he does meet The Problem on Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, it will be the first time he's fought in the United States.

Combine his relatively weak level of competition with his lack of notoriety in America, and you have an opponent that most boxing fans could care less about. The only reason most know who he is now is because he's about to come face to face with the Problem.

There are no sure things in boxing—or in any sport—but Broner defeating Rees is pretty close to it.

He has the advantage in age, speed, power and overall athleticism. The only thing that could possibly impede him is overconfidence.

While that might seem like an issue for a young man as brash as Broner, don't be fooled by the show. He takes boxing very seriously and he has tons of pride. The carefree attitude is part of the persona he's created to make himself more marketable.

It has worked to this point.

The only fighters in the sport that are more polarizing is Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, and that is primarily because they have had long careers to build their legend.

Broner's career is still relatively young.

He's only 23 years old, and this will be his 26th professional fight. He has ascended to this status rather rapidly, and because of that he's at a point where beating up guys like Rees won't advance his career much.

Many people say that Broner is trying to be like Mayweather—and I certainly agree with that to a degree—and many have accused Floyd of ducking fighters in his career. But take a look at Mayweather's resume and tell me there aren't quality fighters there.

He's defeated Genaro Hernandez, the late Diego Corrales, Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Arturo Gatti, Zab Judah and others. 

Without those wins, he wouldn't be as loved by some and hated by others because there would be no validation to his greatness. Mayweather has created the persona Broner is trying to emulate, but part of the process is fighting and defeating good fighters.

Broner did that when he demolished Anthony Demarco, but barring something truly shocking this fight against Rees is nothing more than a public workout.

If Broner wants to ascend to the area he's fully capable of occupying, he needs to defeat some quality guys. 

As I said, he's only 23, so I'm not accusing him of taking on weak opposition in his career just yet, but soon this type of opponent won't be acceptable for a fighter of his caliber.


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