HBO's Max Kellerman spoke with iFilm London's Kugan Cassius about tomorrow night's main event between Adrien Broner and Gavin Rees.
Kugan Cassius, iFilm London: "What do the American boxing public know about Gavin Rees?"
Max Kellerman, HBO: "Not much. They're learning about him now. But he's a good fighter. And the odds, which are absurdly wide over here, as much 80-to-1 at some point. I think it was -- yeah, I wanna say minus 800, but it was minus 8000 at one point for Broner. It's really a reflection more of what people think of Broner than what people think of Gavin Rees. People think that Broner is a special kind of fighter, and I think the odds reflect that over here. But I think when people have seen Rees -- because, you know, nowadays, 'Well they've never seen Rees.' As soon as they see the fight (announced), everyone goes to YouTube and they see a couple of Rees fights, so they have seen Rees. And they have seen, he can fight. Gavin Rees can fight. But especially coming off the DeMarco fight, where Broner -- it wasn't Escobedo, where he had a weight advantage, it wasn't Eloy Perez who's a little guy. It was a big, strong lightweight. And the way Broner -- it's one of the most thorough beatings you'll ever see of a top fighter. So coming right on the heels of that fight, Broner's gonna be a big favorite against any 135 pound fighter."
Cassius: "Broner claimed to run boxing in this era. He said as soon as Floyd sort of comes off the throne when he retires or whatever, he'll be in place there. A lot of people, especially in England, don't really know how good Adrien Broner is. He's a little bit of a question mark. But is he in your opinion, the real deal?"
Kellerman: "Yeah. I mean, you know, he's not just -- forget about the personality. Let's say he was a really boring guy. I don't care how perfect DeMarco's style is for you, you can't do that to DeMarco unless you are a next-level talent. He is a next-level talent. OK, look, Ponce De Leon, a lot of people think beat him, right? I think that's probably because, you know, look, Ali a lot of people thought lost to Doug Jones. He didn't really, but it was a tough fight. When you're young and coming up and fight an awkward southpaw, who's kinda cute and can punch, and you just wanna win to advance. Fighters have those kind of nights. The question will be, is that the kind of style that bothers Broner? Does he have to be put in just right, with a smaller guy or just a purely aggressive guy, to really shine? Or is it just him kinda young, and Ponce catching him at the right time? Based on what I've seen from Broner, I think Ponce caught him just at the right time, had an awkward style, et cetera. Broner's gonna have to prove it now, but everyone kinda feels the same thing. The kid is the goods. The question is, is he the greats? That's what we're gonna find out."
Cassius: "Time will tell. Max, you're known on HBO for being, not outspoken, but just being able to say what you think, and I think people respect you for that, your own opinion. Is that the way you are? Are you not sort of restricted to censoring anything? If you have something to say, or issues within American boxing, you'll just come out and say it?"
Kellerman: "That's the only thing you've got. The only thing you have is your opinion, in my business, for what it's worth. So you have to say what you think. The only thing you have is your opinion."
Cassius: "Do you not get worried sometimes, you think you might upset HBO by saying something, you might upset one of the fighters--"
Kellerman: "It's one of the reasons everybody wants to work on HBO, because it's the kind of place you can really say what you think. The commentary is supposed to elevated. You get the feeling when you watch a lot of different network that they can't rise above the fray. At HBO, since I was a little kid watching it, and that's a great credit to Larry Merchant and Jim Lampley -- it's a credit to the institution at HBO and the way it's been run, at least for me as a viewer, they rise above the fray and can be self-critical. That's one of the reasons it's a great job."
Cassius: "Whenever I talk about Max Kellerman, I always have to mention that you used to be a rapper. A lot of people don't even know that. 'Young Man Rumble.' Sam and Max. It was Sam and Max, wasn't it? It wasn't Max and Sam?"
Kellerman: "It should've been Sam and Max, it was Max and Sam. My brother was undefeated in battles, and if you don't believe me, ask Fab Five Freddy. He'll tell you."
Cassius: "Kind of Eminesque in there as well."
Kellerman: "Eminem could not mess with my brother. My brother was ridiculous. I was just a guy. He was ridiculous."