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Rees Better Than Hatton?

Gavin Rees Ricky HattonBy Chris Stein: I’m in agreement with writer Dan Ambrose about his opinion of former WBA super lightweight champion Gavin Rees (27-1, 13 KOs), who he sees as an incredibly talented fighter whose fight with Andrea Kotelnik (29-2-1, 13 KOs) shouldn’t have been stopped by the referee prematurely. Rees was only briefly stunned and was still fighting back at the time that the referee halted his bout with Kotelnik on Saturday night. Rees looked perfectly alright and was merely trying to get his bearing after having had his equilibrium messed up from a punch that landed behind his ear in the 3rd round. Other than that, he was fine and was fighting back without any signs of being in the verge of a knockout. Rees, however, took the stoppage like a true warrior, never complaining for an instant.

Whatever the case, Rees will move on from this defeat and will soon be challenging for another title in the near future. One fighter whom I’d like to see Rees go up against, however, is Ricky Hatton. Rees had been hoping that Hatton would show interest in a bout before the Kotelnik fight, but for some reason Hatton chose not to take a fight with Rees. When I heard that Hatton wasn’t interested in a fight with Rees, I assumed naturally that it was because Hatton felt that Rees wasn’t competition, that he felt that he’d simply steam roll over Rees and make easy work of him.

Now, I see it as completely different after watching Rees fight against Kotelnik on Saturday. Rees would have been an incredibly tough fight for Hatton, one that I don’t think that Hatton would have won. Rees does all the same things that Hatton does – punch well to the body, excellent power with either hand, heavy pressure fighter, great work ethic, and good endurance. However, unlike Hatton, Rees doesn’t lose fade late in his bouts and fights with more intelligence.

Though he’s a little shorter than Hatton at 5’3,” Rees makes up for his lack of height by fighting harder on the inside and never giving an inch for a second. Knowing this, I can well see why Hatton wouldn’t want to fight a buzzsaw like Rees, for he’d be pressured the whole fight and forced to fight for his life. Rees proved against Kotelnik, who I personally see as a better fighter than any other opponent that Hatton has faced in his career aside from Floyd Mayweather Jr. Rees showed more heart against Kotelnik than I’ve seen from Hatton in any fight of his career.

Even when he was fighting without almost nothing in the last few rounds against Kotelnik, Rees kept coming forward looking like a modern day Rocky Balboa. It was a testament to his drive and determination along with the excellent training from Enzo Calzaghe, his world class trainer, who motivated him when he was beginning to absorb punishment late in the fight.

After this performance, Rees reputation has surely been enhanced tenfold, earning him the right to be considered as one of the best fighters in Britain. Other than Junior Witter, I’d place Rees right near the top spot in the division. Whereas with Hatton, who seems to be slowing down as a fighter and can’t fight at a sustained rate for an extended period of time like he did earlier in his career, I see him having been surpassed by Rees. Some people may disagree with me on this but I feel that Rees is a class above Hatton at this stage in their careers.

It’s time for Rees to make his mark, and I see him rebounding immediately from this defeat and once against challenging for a title. My one hope is that it will be Hatton who will step up and request a fight with Rees, because this is a fight that needs to be made. Believe me, this would be a real classic and would be an excellent showcase for Rees to display his talent on the world stage by beating Hatton.

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