Keith Thurman (25-0, 21 KOs) scored a hard-earned unanimous decision victory over Robert Guerrero (32-2-1, 18 KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Today’s card began a series of broadcasts that will consistently air boxing on regular television and basic cable, including broadcasts on NBC, CBS and Spike TV.
Thurman, a 26-year-old native of Clearwater, Florida, came with a game plan in mind, but wanted to earn the respect of Guerrero early and did so by walking him down and landing right hands.
Both men were eager to exchange from the opening round, but it was Thurman who got the better of the exchanges.
Guerrero, 32, of Gilroy, California, was not dissuaded and landed a few shots as Thurman was pressing forward.
Thurman controlled the early rounds but it was perhaps his aggression that caused a head-butt that immediately left a large protuberance above his right eye.
Thurman continued landing combination punches on Guerrero in Rounds 7 and 8, despite the swelling.
Guerrero continued to take more punishment in Round 9 when a powerful right uppercut cut him above his left eye and began an exchange that dropped Guerrero down hard.
Guerrero, a professional par excellance, took his time to get up before returning to fight.
“We were able to knock him down late, but he’s a vet–he knew how to pace himself,” said Thurman about the knockdown.
Nevertheless, Thurman pressed the action and landed thudding right hands, hooks, and shots to the body that were met with deafening cheers from the crowd.
Although Thurman’s swelling didn’t pose any problems for him in the later rounds, Guerrero’s chin and heart did spell a bit of trouble for Thurman in Rounds 10 and 11.
Despite getting badly knocked down in the previous round, Guerrero pressed the action in Round 10 and even managed to back Thurman on to the ropes where he was able to work from close range.
Nevertheless, Thurman was able to push Guerrero with his shoulder and use his legs to create enough space to land powerful uppercuts that made Guerrero second guess his aggression.
This back-and-forth action continued into the 12th round where, because he was low on the scorecards, Guerrero went for broke amidst the crowd that chanted his name in hopes of a miracle.
The miracle didn’t happen but Guerrero feels that he “earned the hearts of America” with his gutsy performance.
The judges scored the fight 120-107, 118-109, 118-108 and for Keith Thurman. RBRBoxing.com scored the fight 118-108 for Thurman as well.
Despite a tough start to the telecast with an uneventful fight between Adrien Broner and John Molina Jr., the telecast might have been salvaged from this veritable war between two top-ten Welterweights.
It seems too early for that now as the biggest fight of the year is still a few months away. We could be seeing Thurman against another top Welterweight very soon though, including the likes of Marcos Maidana and Amir Khan.
For now, Thurman will visit the hospital and Guerrero will go home with his family.
Check back later for updates from tonight’s post-fight press conference.