MICHAEL PEARLMAN SAYS: Rock defeat enhances his career prospects
10:30am Tuesday 19th February 2013 in Sport
WHEN Gavin Rees entered the ring in Atlantic City on Saturday night, the unknown Welshman was booed and jeered.
Five rounds later and to no-one’s great surprise, Rees was defeated by the exceptional (and huge for a lightweight) Adrien Broner. Boxing’s next big thing.
Yet post-fight it was Broner apologising to the fans for letting them down (“I didn’t entertain you enough, I tried”) and it was Rees enjoying the cheers and support of the Americans. His bravery won them over.
Defeats in boxing can mean different things. At worst, a destruction, like the one Joe Calzaghe inflicted on Jeff Lacy, essentially finishes you at the top level.
The last Welshman to fight in Atlantic City, Gary Lockett, decided to retire after seeing he couldn’t compete with a world level fighter like Kelly Pavlik.
But Rees won’t quit and at 32 he has just done his career the power of good. He’s now not only a viable opponent over here but over there, arguably making more of a splash in the US than champion Nathan Cleverly did last year even in defeat. His bravery and bravado was simply impossible not to admire.
Rees can now enjoy a golden couple of years with some big pay days and might even get another world title chance. Wales should feel very proud of him.