Robert Guerrero is known for incredible grit and Keith Thurman is known for bone-crushing power.
When they collided in the main event of Al Haymon's inaugural "Premier Boxing Champions" card, it was everything we could have hoped for.
Thurman (25-0, 21 KO) imposed his power early, landing heavy blows to Guerrero's (32-3-1, 18 KO) head and body. "The Ghost," who has found success at welterweight by getting inside and mugging his opposition, struggled to do so against the more powerful "One Time," instead exchanging at range and coming out worse off for it. He did manage to raise an ugly hematoma over Thurman's left eye in the third round, but replays revealed that it was caused by an unintentional headbutt.
This pattern continued until about the seventh round, when Thurman's output seemed to wane. Guerrero pressed the advantage, landing a superior volume of strikes and taking both it and the eighth on my scorecard. In the ninth, however, Thurman finally managed to bring him down, blasting him with a vicious uppercut that both opened Guerrero's left eyebrow up and sent him to the canvas. Impressively, Guerrero managed to return to his feet; even more impressively, he managed to survive the absolute barrage of murderous punches that Thurman unloaded on him once he got there.
Far from demoralizing the multi-division champ, however, the knockdown seemed to light a fire under him. Guerrero immediately went on the offensive in the tenth, moving Thurman to the ropes and chiseling away with no regard for the powerful counters coming his way. The last three rounds saw Thurman on the retreat, landing his fair share of heavy blows but unable to halt the relentless advance of his more experienced foe.
The fight was close, action-packed, and everything Al Haymon could have wanted for his first main event. While the judges' cards, none of which gave Guerrero more than two rounds, seemed to describe a blowout, both Thurman and Guerrero gave excellent accounts of themselves. I'm sure NBC was quite happy with them.
The same can't be said for broadcast openers Adrien Broner and John Molina, who meandered through twelve uninspiring rounds (highlights here). Broner realized early on that Molina had no answer for his jab and pressed the advantage accordingly, while the usually pressure-focused Molina seemed content to throw half as many punches as his opponent, a paltry 20 per round. While the third round saw a bit of excitement as Molina connected with a flurry inside, the remainder was routine and uninspiring. Broner took the decision on wide scores, but judging by the audience's reaction to his post-fight speech, they don't want to see him again anytime soon.
We can only hope that that dreck didn't make too many people tune out before the excellent main event.
For quick results and round-by-round coverage of the night's proceedings, click here.