HBO Boxing Preview: Broner vs. Rees, Bika vs. Sjekloca from AC
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night boxing returns to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ to televise a WBC Lightweight title bout between Adrien Broner and Gavis Rees. A rematch between Johnathon Banks and Seth Mitchell was supposed to be co-main event, but an injury to Banks has forced that bout to be postponed.
The bout between Sakio Bika and Nikola Sjekloca has taken its place on the televised card and it will be a WBC Super Middleweight title eliminator.
The following is a preview of both televised bouts.
Sakio Bika (30-5-2) vs. Nikola Sjekloca (25-0); Super Middleweight
The first bout of the night will be between the always dangerous Sakio Bika and the undefeated Nikola Sjekloca. Bika is 33 and Sjekloca is 34 so this is likely the last chance for either man to fight for a title shot.
Bika is a former Olympic boxer from Cameroon. He competed in the 2000 Olympics and has fought for the title several times but was never successful. He won the third season of the The Contender.
Bika has been in nothing but tough fights his entire career. His first defeat came against Sam Soliman in 2002 but that was later avenged in 2007. His other losses were to Joe Calzaghe in Calzaghe’s home country, Lucian Bute in Bute’s adopted hometown of Montreal, Canada, a disqualification loss to Jean Paul Mendy, and a loss to Andre Ward in his hometown of Oakland, California.
You should notice a pattern; Bika has always been willing to fight an elite opponent in his home turf. Bika has 21 stoppages in his career, and he’s coming off a stoppage victory over Dyah Davis.
Sjekloca is undefeated, but this is his first real fight on the big stage. He does not possess great power, as he only has 7 stoppages in his career. This is also his first fight in the United States, most of his fights were in his home country of Montenegro. However, he’s been very active the past two years and fought five times in 2011 and twice in 2012.
A close look at his record reveals that he’s never fought anyone of note. In his past five fights he’s fought boxers with a record of 5-15 and 4-45.
Sjekloca has the better record, but Bika clearly has faced stronger opposition and comes from a more tested background. Bika should win a wide decision victory.
Adrien Broner (25-0) vs. Gavin Rees (37-1); WBC Lightweight title
Once Floyd Mayweather Jr. retires many expect Adrien Broner to pick up the mantle for American boxing.
Broner is the former WBO Super Featherweight Champion and is the current WBC Lightweight champion. He had a stellar amateur career and had a record of 300-19. He’s only 23 and he won his first legitimate world title with a decision over Vicente Martin Rodriguez in 2011.
He’s gifted defensively, extremely quick, and has stoppage power. Only four of his fights went the distance and his last five fights were stoppage victories. His toughest bout to date was against Daniel Ponce De Leon in 2011. He won the decision in that fight, but many ringside analysts felt Ponce De Leon deserved the victory.
Broner looked extremely impressively in his last bout against Antonio DeMarco. DeMarco was expected to give Broner some problems, but Broner was in clear control the entire fight. He’s also defeated the likes of Vicente Escobedo, Eloy Perez, and Jason Litzau.
The one thing that is missing from Broner’s resume is a victory over a big name and well known opponent. He’s been trying to get a fight with Ricky Burns but that fight has yet to materialize.
His opponent on Saturday will be Gavin Rees. Rees is older than Broner by nine years and will be giving up seven inches in reach. Rees is a former WBA Light Welterweight world champion.
His only loss came nearly five years ago to Andriy Kotelnyk. He lost that bout by a 12th round TKO. Rees doesn’t have the power that Broner has. Less than half of his bouts were stoppage victories.
His biggest wins to date were his victory over Souleymane M’baye in 2007 and his 2011 victory over Andy Murray for the European Lightweight title in 2011. He’s spent most of his career fighting in the lightweight and junior welterweight divisions, but he has spent his entire career fighting in the United Kingdom
This is Rees’ first fight in the United States, and this will be by far his toughest opponent to date.
Broner should make this a short night and stop Rees early. A better bout would have been against Ricky Burns and hopefully that will be the next fight for Adrien Broner.