LAS VEGAS -- One of boxing’s brightest young stars was able to withstand a late charge from a durable opponent to remain unbeaten and retain his title. Keith Thurman also had to deal with a gruesome hematoma on his forehead, a swollen left eye and many clean punches from Robert Guerrero, but he was able to weather it all and win a unanimous decision.
After a somewhat slow start to the fight, Thurman began to open up his arsenal and pick “The Ghost” apart from the outside. Thurman’s brilliant movement and beautiful counter attacks befuddled Guerrero throughout, and it was apparent that the Gilroy, Calif., fighter couldn’t win if things didn’t change.
Guerrero began to slowly press the action more and more and though he had a sizable power disadvantage, he had no choice but to goad the champion into a slugfest late in the fight. Guerrero was starting to have some success with his tactics, but eventually the Clearwater, Fla., fighter’s power came crashing home onto the crowd favorite.
Related » Thurman vs. Guerrero Play-by-Play
During a wild exchange late in the ninth round, a vicious right hand decked Guerrero; referee Kenny Bayless almost counted him out. With blood now streaming down his face from a nasty laceration around his left eye, Guerrero was then forced to withstand a hellish onslaught from “One Time,” who was dead set on ending the fight right then and there.
Guerrero was able to somehow survive the attrition but he was far behind on the scorecards. The action for the last three rounds of the main event on NBC was scattered in exciting bursts of toe-to-toe action, but Thurman also retreated when he needed in order to regroup and maintain control of the skirmish. Guerrero (32-3-1, 18 KOs) suckered the champion into one last bestial exchange as the fight clock expired; he fell short of the miraculous come-from-behind knockout he desperately desired.
In the end, Thurman was the clear-cut victor and was awarded as such with lopsided official scoring. Judge Adalaide Byrd had him winning 120-107; Dave Moretti scored it in his favor 118-109; and Jerry Roth saw it 118-108, allowing him to retain the WBA version of the welterweight title. Now at 25-0 with 21 KOs, Thurman has his sights set on fighting only the best of the best at 147.
Broner Improves to 30-1
Adrien Broner, who fancies himself as the future of boxing in both the villain and superstar categories, dominated the overmatched and oft-cumbersome John Molina Jr. in the co-main event of the maiden Premier Boxing Champions card on NBC. Broner out-boxed and out-foxed Molina from the start and coasted to a lopsided unanimous decision win.
Broner stuck to his game plan of staying on the outside and peppering his taller foe with left jabs, a move that befuddled “The Gladiator” throughout. Molina tried numerous times to get on the inside and make it a brawl, but “The Problem” nullified his tactics with sharp uppercuts and timely body punching.
Promoters and network executives were hoping the tussle would birth electrifying action, but the fight wound up being the antithesis. Molina repeatedly clinched when he got close and Broner didn’t open up his arsenal enough to score many telling blows. The fight wound up being littered with boos and jeers from an increasingly unhappy crowd, though Broner clearly dominated virtually every facet of the encounter.
Two of the ringside judges favored the Cincinnati super lightweight via tallies of 120-108 while the third had it for Broner 118-110. The win allowed Broner to improve to 30-1 with 22 KOs and remain near the top of the 140-pound weight class. Molina, who hails from Covina, Calif., dipped to 27-6 with 22 KOs for his efforts.
« Previous PBC Boxing Highlight: Watch Keith Thurman Drop Robert Guerrero Next Laila Ali on Ronda Rousey: No Woman Can Beat Me »