If anyone had any doubt about Keith Thurman being the real deal came his dominant performance against Robert Guerrero, winning by unanimous decision to retain his WBA Welterweight title.
Interim, regular, super… it doesn’t matter. The important thing was Thurman doing well on prime time, with NBC broadcasting a fight in prime time for the first time in 30 years. Plenty of big hits from both fighters and quite a few toe to toe moments, but Guerrero, showing plenty of heart and resolve, was the one who had more blood oozing out of him in the end, and never looked like the better fighter.
The scorecards? 120-107, 118-108, 118-109. Not even close, and no argument about it either, despite Thurman fighting with a large swelling on the left side of his forehead from the third round. No entourages on the canvas before the fight, and there wasn’t a lot of trash talking afterwards. Al Haymon, the brain behind these sudden prime time appearances for boxers on national networks, wants a classier product, while trying to downplay the importance of the boxing councils like the WBA.
Robert Guerrero was a tremendous warrior. He’s known as ‘The Ghost’ and is a veteran, a world champion. He showed it today and was a little more calm. I thought he was going to press more in the beginning rounds. But he’s a veteran, and he knew how to pace himself and stay a little bit out of range. This was a tremendous fight and an incredible learning experience for me, Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman.
Thurmans, 26, is now 25-0-0-1 (no contest) in his career, winning his last two fights by unanimous decision in 12 rounds after mostly delivering knockouts previously in his career. He took down Guerrero in the ninth round and also sent him staggering into the ropes just before the end of the sixth round. The longer the fight got, the worse Guerrero looked, although he had it in him for a couple of exchanges and finishing the fight on his feet.
Thurmans made a purse of $1.5 million from the fight; Guerrero, fighting for only the second time since losing to Floyd Mayweather on May 2013, made $1.225 million. Thurmans landed 35% of his punches while Guerrero only had 21% go through, according to Compubox.
He is one of the best. He came in and stuck to his game plan. I take my hat off to him. I’m not a hater. I’m a fighter. He caught me with a good shot, dazed me and I went down. I could have got up quicker but I took the eight count. Like I said, he has power. Thurman is a tough fighter. He came to fight. Now I know why they call him ‘One Time.’ He has a lot of power in both of his hands and is fast. I came to fight. I know I didn’t win the fight but I won the hearts of America. I always come through and keep fighting my heart out, and that’s why the fans love me. I just can’t wait to get back into the ring and give America more fights like this.