ATLANTIC CITY - Adrien Broner had little trouble staying undefeated Saturday night.
The WBC lightweight champion overcame Gavin Rees' aggressiveness and determination to gain a fifth-round TKO before a roaring crowd of 4,812 at Boardwalk Hall.
"I knew he was coming to fight," Broner said. "He's a world-class fighter. I had to see how much gas was left in that Toyota. He kept coming and threw every shot like it was his best shot. I knew he would be tough. He's tougher than a steak that's well-done. When you have two world-class fighters going toe to toe it's going to be great fight."
Broner (26-0, 22 KOs) scored two knockdowns in the bout. He ended the fight with a powerful left hook to the body that forced Rees (37-2-1, 19 KOs) to take a knee in the fifth.
Rees, a native of Newport, Wales, got to his feet, but Broner landed a series of body shots and combinations that drove Rees into a corner and prompted his trainer, Gary Lockett to wave a white towel and prompt referee Earl Brown to halt the fight at two minutes, 59 seconds.
"I wanted to (stop the fight) after four rounds, but Gavin said no way he was quitting," Lockett said. "I also considered stopping it after the third, but Gavin is too proud."
Broner, a 23-year-old Cincinnati native, controlled most of the bout, but Rees didn't back away from the challenge. The 32-year-old wasn't fazed by Broner's antics and continually pressed forward.
At times, he even did a little clowning himself, which drew some cheers from the fans.
Broner scored his firsth knockdown in the fourth, catching Rees with one of his trademark right uppercuts that sent him to the canvas. Rees got up and eight and endured a savage beating along the ropes just before the bell sounded to end the round.
"I'm disappointed in my performance," Rees said. "I made a lot of mistakes. I think I have a better skill set that. He hits incredibly hard for a lightweight. I knew he hit hard, but the power just stunned me. But I disagree with my trainer stopping it. I was always going to get back up. I was going to get keep getting up until I got knocked out cold. He's the best I've ever been in with."
Both fighters weighed 150 pounds on HBO's unofficial scales on Saturday after making the 135-pound lightweight limit Friday afternoon. Broner weighed 134 and Rees checked in at 134 1/2.
Broner wore a microphone and joined in a rap song on his way to the ring.
In the co-feature, Australian super-middleweight Sakia Bika (31-5-2, 21 KOs) earned another shot at unified champion Andre Ward (20-0, 16 KOs) by earning a 12-round, unanimous decision over Montenegro's Nikola Sjekloca (25-1, 7 KOs). Ward beat Bika via decision three years ago.
"I had a great plan and worked hard," Bika said. "I give (Sjekloca a lot of credit). He was undefeated and came to fight. It was a great opportunity for me. Now I want to fight all the great fighters - Lucian Bute, Andre Ward, all of them."
Philadelphia junior-middleweight Demetrius Hopkins (33-2-1, 13 KOs), nephew of former middleweight and light-heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins, won the USBA title with a sixth-round TKO over champ Charles Whittaker (39-14-2, 23 KOs), of Miami.
Whittaker's corner stopped the fight after the sixth round when Whittaker claimed he couldn't see.
Miami, Fla. Edner Cherry (31-6-2, 17 KOs) scored a mild upset on the Broner-Rees undercard with a sixth-round TKO over Vicente Escobedo (26-4, 15 KOs), of Woodland, Calif. Referee Allan Huggins stopped it after Escobedo hit the canvas for the second time at the end of the round.
U.S. Olympic teammates Jamel Herring and Rau'Shee Warren both earned convincing victories. Herring (2-0, 1 KO), a junior-welterweight from Coram, N.Y., registered a third-round TKO over Puerto Rico native Carlos Lopez (4-2). Warren (3-0, 1 KO), a bantamweight from Cincinnati, dropped Richard Hernandez (0-6), of Lockhart, Tex., twice en route to a second-round TKO. Warren, who trains with Broner in Cincinnati, was on three U.S. Olympic teams.
In other early fights, Toledo, Ohio lightweight Robert Easter, Jr. (3-0, 3 KOs) gained a first-round TKO over Jose Valderrama (3-4, 3 KOs), of Puerto Rico.
PUNCHLINES: Boxing returns to town next Saturday at Bally's Atlantic City with a card featuring Somers Point middleweight Patrick Majewski and Middle Township light-heavyweight Chuck Mussachio. Majewski (20-1, 13 KOs) will face Philadelphia's Jamaal Davis (14-8-1, 6 KOs) in the 10-round main event. Majewski is ranked No. 9 in the WBC and No. 15 in the WBO. Mussachio (18-2-2, 5 KOs) will meet Lionell Thompson (12-2, 8 KOs), of Buffalo, N.Y., in an eight-rounder. Millville featherweight Joshua Caban-Reyes (3-0, 1 KO) is also in action in a four-rounder against Tommy Garcia (3-3, 2 KOs), of Hartford, Conn. Millville middleweight Thomas LaManna (10-0, 6 KOs) is scheduled to fight at Resorts Casino Hotel on March 8. Atlantic City welterweight Anthony Young (6-0, 2 KOs), who just signed with promoter Vito Mielnicki (GH3 Promotions), is slated to fight at Birchwood Manor in Whippany on March 15. Atlantic City super-middleweight Isiah Seldon (6-0, 3 KOs) is on an April 26 card at Philadelphia's National Guard Armory.