Adrien Broner: Gavin Rees is a tough little fighter but nowhere near Broner’s league, which is why he was disassembled Saturday in Atlantic City, N.J., on HBO. Broner (26-0, 22 knockouts) took a few rounds to figure out the Welshman but then put him down twice and pounded on him until his corner ended matters with a second to go in Round 5. It was Broner’s 16th KO in his last 17 fights. Impressive. It’s still too early to anoint Broner one of the handful of best fighters in the world but he certainly is looking the part. Now he must step up in competition. I don’t think anyone in his division (lightweight) can give him problems. The two best boxers at 135 pounds might be Miguel Vazquez and Richard Abril but neither is in Broner’s class. That might not be the case at 140, where the likes of Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, Amir Khan, Zab Judah, Juan Manuel Marquez and Brandon Rios reside. We look forward to Broner moving up in weight.
Gavin Rees: We should cut Rees (37-2-1, 18 KOs) some slack here. Few fighters on the planet could give Broner anything resembling a good fight. And the lad fought with spirit. The fight actually appeared to be competitive for about five or six minutes, which is something of a moral victory against Broner. Rees’ fans, many of whom came from Wales to be at ringside at Boardwalk Hall, undoubtedly are proud of his effort even if they’re disappointed that Broner proved that their countryman isn’t an elite fighter. That doesn’t mean he isn’t a good fighter; he is. He’ll probably go back to Europe, beat up on second-tier opponents and continue to make a good living. And, hey, he will have taken home a healthy paycheck. It wasn’t a total disaster.
WORST MAIN EVENT
Rodriguez-Tahdooahnippah: This probably was a bigger mismatch than Broner-Rees. Rodriguez (27-6-3, 15 KOs) will never be a star but he’s a good, experienced junior middleweight capable of giving most contenders a challenge. Tahdooahnippah (31-1-1, 23 KOs) had a gaudy record and a good story – he’s a leader in the Comanche Nation – going into the fight but a quick look at his record reveals that fighting Rodriguez was an enormous step up in competition. And he obviously wasn’t prepared. Rodriguez battered Tahdooahnippah before the fight was stopped in the sixth round, mercifully sparing Tahdooahnippah and the viewers more punishment. ESPN can do a better job of matchmaking. The good news? Next week’s Friday Night Fights main event – Lamont Peterson vs. Kendall Holt – is about as compelling as it gets on the series.
The co-feature of the HBO card also proved to be uncompetitive. Sakio Bika (31-5-2, 21 KOs) pounded Nikola Sjekloca (25-1, 7 KOs) en route to a near-shutout decision in a super middleweight title eliminator. Bika might’ve improved a bit after working with trainer Kevin Cunningham but he probably still isn’t a serious threat to the best 168-pounders. ÔÇª Former U.S. Olympian Vicente Escobedo (26-5, 16 KOs) was stopped by Edner Cherry (31-6-2, 17 KOs) in six rounds on the Broner-Rees card. Escobedo (5-4 in his last nine fights) hasn’t been able to win his biggest fights and has now been stopped in consecutive bouts, the first time against Broner. He might be finished as a legitimate contender. Cherry is unbeaten in eight fights since he was outclassed by Timothy Bradley in 2008. ÔÇª The best moment on the Rodriguez-Tahdooahnippah card was lightweight Chris Howard’s one-punch, third-round knockout of Bayan Jargal (17-4-3, 11 KOs). A big right put Jargal down. The stoppage might’ve been a big premature but the Mongolian boxer definitely was hurt. Howard (15-2-1, 7 KOs) is from Cincinnati.