Gary Buckland (28-3, 9 KO) and Gavin Rees (37-4-1, 18 KO) will meet again on Saturday night at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales.
Their first bout was an epic, back-and-forth battle in February. Buckland won a split decision, but because of how close and exciting the first tilt was, a rematch was definitely in order.
This one takes on even more meaning considering Rees told Sky Sports he was retiring after the fight—win or lose.
As part of a top-notch card featuring a handful of England's best boxers, Buckland-Rees II might give us just as good of a fight as we got the first time.
Fans will also get to see Lee Selby tangle with Romulu Koasicha and Nathan Cleverly's long-awaited return to the ring. He will take on Sean Corbin.
Here's how you can watch the action:
When: Saturday, May 17 at 3 p.m. ET
Where: Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales
TV: Sky Sports
Live Stream: AWE
The Book on Rees
At 34 years old, Rees is ready to hang up the gloves, but not before he goes all-in for one more bout. He told Sky Sports, "I will leave everything I have in the ring on May 17 and I am proud of everything I have achieved."
He should be proud. He has overcome personal struggles with alcohol, and he's a former world champion. That said, counting the first loss to Buckland, The Rock has dropped three straight bouts.
Without a question, he doesn't want to end his career on a four-fight losing streak. The pressure is on him to win and to send himself off with a victory.
The Book on Buckland
After Buckland and Rees went at it hard for 12 rounds, not everyone believed Buckland deserved to win. Sky Sports wrote, "The action suggested to some that Rees may have just done enough, but Buckland finished strongly as well and when the scores came through it was he who had his hand raised."
For Buckland, eliminating the doubt has to be at the forefront of his mind. He's only 27 years old. He still has a bit of fighting left in front of him. The first win over Rees was a big one.
It came just after Buckland had been viciously stopped by Stephen Smith in Aug. 2013.
If Buckland wants to make himself a potential opponent for the top lightweights in the world, he needs to beat Rees again. This time, he'd like to leave no doubt.
It seems impossible that these two men could fight and it not be close. They were so evenly matched in the first meeting, and both are too far along in their careers to introduce new tricks.
Expect another slugfest.
At 5'7", Buckland holds a three-inch height advantage over Rees. He used that to his advantage in the latter part of the first fight. In the rematch, Rees will do his best to close the distance, and Buckland may lose some of the exchanges as he goes hunting for power shots.
By a razor-thin margin, Rees will win the decision. That will only prompt discussion for a rubber match. Depending on the money, it may be hard for Rees to resist.
This could be Britain's version of the Arturo Gatti-Micky Ward rivalry—if talk of a third fight has any legs. That's something all boxing fans would applaud.
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