Al Haymon brought big time boxing back to free television last night and produced a few bumps in the road from both the production end and of course the fights themselves. Some of the bumps even landed on Keith Thurman’s (25-0, 21 KOs) forehead.
Keith “One Time” Thurman earned tons of praise for his performance last night from a lot of places, including from his opponent Robert Guerrero (32-3-1, 18 KOs), who admitted he felt Thurman’s power throughout their exciting fight on the Premier Boxing Champions card on NBC.
Thurman won a lopsided decision on all three judges cards and skipped the post-fight presser to go to the hospital to treat the Hematoma he developed after a clash of heads with Guerrero in the third round.
Thurman has shown he is very capable of delivering the knockout blow to end a fight early, but last night he also showed he can hurt a top-tier fighter such as Guerrero. Guerrero’s face was battered far beyond anything Floyd Mayweather ever did when he fought Guerrero in 2013. Thurman also managed to hurt Guerrero several times and knock him down in Round 9.
While Mayweather had an easy time with Guerrero, he never even came close to stopping him as Thurman nearly did at the end of that round. Perhaps if he would have had another 10 seconds, Thurman would have delivered another “One Time” right hand which would have forced referee Kenny Bayless to jump in and call a halt to the action.
Adrien Broner (30-1, 22 KOs) has serious knockout power in both hands, but last night against John Molina (27-6, 22 KOs), Broner decided to outbox him and really stick to the age old adage of “stick and move.” Broner declared we will never see him in a tough fight again. Rather, Broner will be inclined to work behind his searing jab and ice skates for feet to stay clear of danger.
Haymon’s fighters have said that their adviser tries to help them preserve their health in the ring while making money both inside and outside of it. What we saw last night was both Broner and Thurman keenly deciding to retreat rather than engage.
The production itself provided some hits and misses for both live spectators and home viewers.
While the announcing team of Marv Albert and Sugar Ray Leonard did an admirable job taking us through the action, most boxing fans are used to being in the corners of the fighters in between rounds. Cutting to a commercial at the bell will take some getting used to even though NBC had Laila and B.J. Flores filling us in on what the corner men told their fighters.
Some other major changes from what we generally see is the lack of a ring announcer, no ring card girls and the fighters making their entrances all alone instead of with their entourage. Granted, when a fighter is in the ring he is all alone to fend for himself. However, there is clear entertainment value in watching a fighter display his personality during his ring entrance which includes music and lots and lots of people walking with them.
In the case of “Prince” Naseem Hamed, the fighter can even be carried into the ring like royalty. We might miss that and there’s little evidence the music from Hans Zimmer enhanced anything that Lil’ Wayne and French Montana could not have done better.
Actually, one of the only areas Haymon’s team didn’t touch was the fighter’s ring trunks and we saw some originality in that department.