Keith Thurman vs. Robert Guerrero: 3 Keys to Victory for ‘One Time’

PBC on NBC - Thurman Guerrero Broner Molina Naoki Fukada (4)
Photo by Naoki Fukada

On Saturday night, March 7, NBC reenters the primetime boxing world launching its first episode of Premier Boxing Champions.

The opening act of PBC features a pair of competitive fights, highlighted by the main event which features Keith “One Time” Thurman and Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero.

This is a very interesting matchup. At 26, Thurman (24-0, 21 KOs) is undefeated and has many pundits and fans talking about him as the heir apparent of the Welterweight division. A big win against Guerrero (32-2-1, 18 KOs) thrusts him into the conversation with the elite powerbrokers at Welterweight.

For Thurman to earn a victory over a tough, gritty veteran like Guerrero, here are his keys to victory.

Keith Thurman vs. Leonard Bundo - Ethan Miller Getty Images

First, start fast. Thurman is the younger, stronger fighter. With that in mind, he needs to be first with everything and dictate the pace of the fight.

After losing to Floyd Mayweather in May of 2013, Guerrero, 31, has fought only once. Thurman has been the more active fighter in the ring. Start the engine and make the fight a race between a corvette and a pickup truck.

Thurman should keep a relentless pace and make Guerrero work three minutes of every round. As the fight reaches the mid-to-late rounds, he will have set himself up to be in tactical command of the fight where he can take over with his power.

Photo by Naoki Fukada

Second, keep the action in the center of the ring. Looking back at Robert Guerrero’s win over Andre Berto, he forced Berto into the ropes and had a field day by mauling him with flurries and doing a number on his face.

In that posture, Guerrero became “Superman” as he physically dominated Berto. It’s critical for Thurman to keep the action in the center of the ring where he can showcase his hand and foot speed.

If he finds his back against the ropes, he’s in more of a defensive posture and Guerrero can launch an assault more to his liking.

It’s critical for Thurman to showcase his skills in the center of the ring where he can make Guerrero more of a Clark Kent.

Keith Thurman vs Julio Diaz Esther Lin
Photo by Esther Lin

Third, simple math, three is more than one. Robert Guerrero is most effective when he throws a myriad of punches.

His style is more of a “punches in bunches” attack. He is not the type of fighter that stops you with one punch. For Thurman, using his quicker hands and feet to fire his own combinations then sliding to his right will give Guerrero an uncomfortable angle.

Force Guerrero to be more defensive and make him reset after punching and moving. Guerrero wants to throw combinations and plod forward. Don’t let him.

Force him to play defense and limit his punch output. Going back to the analogy of a corvette and a pickup truck, it’s a strategy that should provide huge dividends for Thurman.

Guerrero has faced his share of adversity both in and out of the ring. His southpaw style has given many opponents fits. He knows that a victory over Thurman is the rebirth of his career at an elite level.

For Thurman, a win over a fighter the caliber of Guerrero only moves him closer to those powerbrokers.

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