Two proud Englishman will battle for the right to fight bigger and better opponents on Saturday in Bolton, England. Former WBA light welterweight champion Gavin “The Rock” Rees (37-2, 18 KO) will take on Anthony “Million Dolla” Crolla (25-4, 9 KO) in what will prove to be an interesting and competitive bout.
Kevin Hayde of Wales Online spoke to matchmaker Eddie Hearn about the future of the two fighters.
Hearn said the winner of the bout would be in position to challenge WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns. Much is at stake for both men, here’s how you can catch the action.
|Date and Time||Network|
|Saturday, June 29||Sky Sports|
The Book on Rees
Rees’ career has seen its ups and downs. While he is a former world champion, The Rock has fought and beaten alcoholism. He won the Prizefighter tournament in 2008, but claims he was a “stone-cold drunk” at the time, per Daily Mail.
With those issues behind him, the 33-year-old is ready to make the most of his career. He’s coming off a punishing loss to Adrien “The Problem” Broner in February. Though he showed some flashes, Broner was just too big and strong for Rees and the fight was stopped in the fifth round.
He hasn’t lost a fight since he lost to Andriy Kotelnik in 2008 when he dropped the WBA title. Rees will be looking to get back to his winning ways against Crolla.
In the Ring
At only 5’4”, Rees is short even by lightweight standards. His 64” reach doesn’t help much in the length department, but he’s deceptively quick and he has good footwork.
He’s able to close distance with a mixture of head movement, instincts and hand speed. Though Broner stopped him, The Rock showed he had a good chin, as he took a sound beating before the fight was mercifully stopped.
Against Crolla, Rees won’t be facing a big-time puncher so he should be extremely aggressive.
The Book on Crolla
From his on the money nickname to his action-packed style of fighting, Crolla is entertaining. He is the type of fighter who seems to embrace major challenges. He’s also competed in the Prizefighter tournament and engaged in a two-fight mini-series with Derry Mathews.
Who wins this fight and how?
He’s yet to officially get the best of Mathews, but the spirit of those bouts helped to drive his popularity. If the 26-year-old can knock off the more popular Rees, he’ll be making a major move in his career.
In the Ring
Crolla fights as if he has more power than he actually has, which has landed him in trouble. In his first fight with Mathews, he was stopped in the sixth round, as he never adjusted to losing the battle of in-close exchanges. He has displayed a solid chin throughout his career, otherwise.
Crolla has only stopped nine opponents, but his pace can sometimes wear a fighter down. This seemed to be the case against John Watson in Feb. 2011 when he scored this ninth-round TKO win.
He must establish his jab to be effective against Rees. He has a huge 4.5 inch height and three-inch reach advantage. Crolla usually fights on the inside, so he may not even possess the skill to capitalize on what could be his biggest advantage.
Even though Rees is seven years older and 4.5 inches shorter, he should handle Crolla in this fight.
The Rock is more rugged, a harder puncher and he’s got slightly quicker hands. Crolla will be game as always, but ultimately Rees will stop him in the middle-to-late rounds.
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