MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada– It doesn’t take a marketing genius to realize that Keith Thurman (25-0, 21 KOs) is being positioned as the next big thing in the deep, glamorous welterweight division. Saturday night, on the NBC debut of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC), “One Time” showed his raw potential for stardom as he alternated between launched bombs and tactical boxing en route to a unanimous twelve-round decision over Robert Guerrero (32-3-1, 18 KOs).
In this first-ever PBC main event, nothing more could’ve been asked of both fighters as a come-forward Guerrero played counter-puncher against Thurman, who preferred to stay back and throw heavy-handed shots during periodic rushes into the pocket.
Despite the lopsided scores of 120-107, 118-108, and 118-109 the bout was a lot closer as Guerrero had his moments, catching an incoming Thurman with several big shots over the curse of twelve. But, ultimately, it was Thurman scoring the bigger, better shots during exchanges.
A clubbing Thurman right hand to the side of the head dropped Guerrero hard in the ninth round, but to Guerrero’s credit, he came back and did some of his best work in the last three rounds.
It’s clear that Thurman is not quite the finished product– at least not when measured against guys like Mayweather and Pacquiao– but all of the pieces are there for superstardom and more fights like this will give him the seasoning to reach that next level. A stoppage win over the super tough Guerrero would’ve been ideal and there was no need for the sudden decision to box from a distance during portions of the last three rounds, but it’s hard to be too critical of anything seen on PBC Saturday night.