The CBZ Newswire

Keith Thurman and Robert Guerrero Make NBC Boxing a Successful Debut with Scintillating War!

by on Mar.10, 2015, under Boxing News

By Christopher Morgan at ringside

 

Thurman, at left, lands a crunching right to the head of Robert Guerrero (photo courtesy www.premierboxingchampions.com)

Thurman, at left, lands a crunching right to the head of Robert Guerrero (photo courtesy www.premierboxingchampions.com)

LAS VEGAS, NV, March, 07, 2015 — The main event of NBC’s inaugural prime time network boxing telecast made the lackluster co-main a distant memory and gave viewers, as well as the sell out crowd, well more than their moneys worth. Keith “One Time” Thurman answered a lot of questions in mostly dominating top welterweight Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero over 12 hard fought rounds, winning both the slugging as well as the boxing war, though he had to walk through some fire to accomplish his task.

Robert Guerrero (32-2-1, 18 Kos) of Gilroy, California enters the ring first to Oscar-winning composer Hanz Zimmer’s heroic orchestral theme that he composed for NBC’s boxing series. The crowd, being majority Mexican-American, is definitely behind Robert, loudly cheering their blood and guts champ. Keith Thurman (24-0, 21 Kos) quickly follows, smiling and bouncing his way to the ring to the same orchestral themes.  He also has strong crowd support — with a smattering of boos mixed in.

As the bell rings for the first round, Thuman rushes out of his corner and brings the fight straight to Robert, who seems a little thrown off.  Bam!  Thurman blasts Guerrero with a frightening heat-seeker right hand. Guerrero, happy to oblige, lands a heavy counter left hook and gets countered by a thudding left hook in return. Thurman is in pure seek and destroy mode, here in the first, and gets caught with a hard straight left from the southpaw Guerrero after throwing a lazy jab. For the remainder of the round, Guerrero attempts to play the counter puncher a little and wait for Thurman to make a mistake, but he continually gets blasted, and possibly staggered a little.  Not having much success with his plan, man, he took some heavy leather from Thurman in that round — what a chin this guy possesses!

In the second, the fight is competitive for the first 2 minutes, as Guerrero is staying outside and countering Thurman effectively from time to time when, suddenly in the last minute of the round, Thurman opens up and beats Robert from pillar to post.  Guerrero is taking the punches well and not showing signs of being hurt, but he also isn’t throwing anything back, which tells a different story.

In the third, Thurman’s speed is beginning to trouble Guerrero, as Thurman now is darting in and out, changing tempo, and backing away just enough that Guerrero’s counters and offense fall short. Thurman slows down a little at the 2 minute mark and Guerrero capitalizes, landing a couple of hard hooks inside and then — crash! Their heads bang together, and Thurman comes away with a bad cut high on the left side of his head.

In rounds 4 and 5, Thurman– possibly from the head wound that is rapidly swelling — is picking his spots more now, not throwing as recklessly, but still controls most of the rounds with hard right hands that land right on Guerrero’s beak. At the end of the 6th round, Thurman lands a rocket blast right hand with such force that Guerrero flies back into the ropes, the bloodthirsty crowd goes nuts!

The fight is slowing down now in the 7th and 8th rounds,well slowing down by the standard set over the first 6 rounds, that is.  Guerrero comes on more in the 8th, while Thurman slows down a little.  Guerrero seems to be more urgent now, possibly sensing that he is down on the cards. Guerrero does well for the majority of the two rounds, but the fast hands and harder shots of Thurman are the ones that appear to be doing the damage.

Guerrero is spending the majority of the 9th round trying to close the distance, but Thurman is clearly a master of distance, backing away just enough to stay out of Guerrero’s wheelhouse. Guerrero finally closes the gap and gets inside with a little less than a minute left in the round, where he gets absolutely leveled by a short uppercut followed by an overhand right high on the temple. Guerrero is flat on his back and it doesn’t look like he is going to be able to beat the count. Guerrero slowly pulls himself to a sitting position, blood is leaking down his face from his left eye.  Somehow he rises, barely beating the count, and there are still 30 seconds to go. In a brutal display of one-sided beatings, Thurman throws everything going for the kill.  The ref is close to jumping in to save the brave warrior Guerrero, who is smiling at Thurman like “you got me man”. The bell rings.  Guerrero is still on his feet.

Thurman tries to pick up where he left off in the previous round, but must be fatigued from the leather he slung in the previous round. Guerrero takes advantage, somehow coming back and forcing a phonebooth war for the entire round.  Fighting toe to toe, Guerrero is getting stronger after the knockdown, showing so much heart in there that the crowd responds, drowning the arena in noise.

Thurman back peddles for much of the 11th, wanting to avoid the phone booth of the 10th. Thurman is possibly punched out and tired, content to throw one at a time and get out of there.  Guerrero is just a little too slow at this stage to take advantage and can’t chase Thurman down.

In the final round, Thurman is completely on his bicycle now; he has thrown and landed everything he has, and Guerrero is still standing.  He knows he is way ahead on the cards and can run out the round. Chants of “Guerrero, Guerrero” rain down in the arena, and loud boos for Thurman’s running effort mix in as well. Thurman is forced into a couple of exchanges by the ever-charging Guerrero, but he mostly plays the hit-and-get- out-of-there-fast game.

The fight goes to the judges scorecards, a unanimous decision all for Keith Thurman, who remains undefeated.  The scores are much more lopsided than it appeared from ringside at 120 – 107, 118 – 109 and 118 – 108.

Keith Thurman’s star shines brighter after this performance.  He had a top 5 Welterweight in front of him who refused to be hurt or discouraged, brought pressure all night, and handily rose to the occasion, putting on a great performance at the same time. There are some very attractive options for Thurman at and around the Welterweight limit, but it remains to be seen whether they will have the courage Guerrero did and get in the ring with him.

Robert Guerrero was very gracious in defeat; he gave Thurman his respect and refused to be let down in defeat, telling the fans he loved them and claiming he will be back.  And after a performance like that, who wouldn’t want to see him fight again? Robert started his career as a 126 pound featherweight, and while he has definitely proven himself as a real welterweight, he might find his punches are more potent at 140.  Its worth a shot.

There is something about fighters from Northern California — Nonito Donaire and, now, Robert Guerrero giving honest, heartfelt and warm post fight interviews after suffering lopsided defeats, rather than the all-too-common defensive and excuse-ridden interviews by losing fighters.

 

Undercard

In the co-main event, Adrien “The Problem” Broner (29-1, 22 Kos) of Cincinnati Ohio scored a dreadfully boring shutout unanimous decision over West Covina Californias John Molina Jr. (27-5, 22 Kos).

This fight had all of the makings of something special, but the end result skewed far in the opposite direction.

The four non televised bouts ended so briefly that the fans in the arena have now had to wait for over an hour for the first televised event to take place, making them more bloodthirsty than usual, and the first two rounds of the fight have not given them anything to be happy about. Both men have spent the first two rounds very tentatively feeling each other out. Broner rushes quickly at Molina from time to time, but then does nothing at all. Heavy boos begin to echo throughout the building at the end of 2.

The majority of the 3rd round is spent with Broner playing stalk and jab, walking a listless Molina down and then landing a couple of snappy jabs mixed in with an occasional overhand right, none of which land very clean as Molina has his guard up high around his head. With around 20 seconds left in the round, Molina suddenly darts out with two explosive, whipping overhand rights that both land in succession, Broner’s eyes rolling back in his head momentarily. A wild slugfest breaks out, but the gong of the bell stops it from getting serious.

Based off of the slight success in the previous round, Molina comes out for the 4th throwing wild looping overhand haymakers that sail past Broner without landing. Broner also grabs Molina some of the time as he lunges in, putting his whole body behind the punches.

In rounds 5 through 8, Molina’s output has slowed to literally one punch every minute; he just can’t get going, and whenever he does throw ,they are like wild bar room brawler shots that have no chance of landing.  Meanwhile, Broner bangs Molina often with clean left hooks and rights on the chin.

Every round is pretty much the same in this fight, and in the latter rounds of the fight Molina is only throwing when he and Broner are tied up on the inside.  At this point, it’s a wonder if the TV audience hasn’t changed the channel already.

In the final round of the bout, Broner is so far ahead on the scorecards that he literally runs around the ring, staying out of harms way, moving swiftly until the final bell tolls.

The scorecards reflect the one sided nature of the bout, a complete shutout on two cards, 120 – 108, with a 118 – 110 reading on a third.

It is a shame for the sport of boxing that neither of these fighters wanted to step it up and put on a good show. I’m not saying that every fight should resemble a Rocky movie, but it was obvious that both men were content to put as little effort forth as possible to get through it.

 

Non-Televised Undercard

In the first bout of the evening, two local Las Vegas Welterweights, Ryan Picou (2-6, 0 Kos) and Ladarius Miller (5-0, 1 Ko) fought an entertaining 4 round scrap with the undefeated Ladarius Miller getting the nod by a shutout unanimous decision. Neither fighter was particularly effective with Ladarius being just a little more so enough to get through this one.

The second bout of the evening featured a quick 2 round blowout between lightweights Robert Easter (12-0, 9 Kos) of Toledo Ohio and Alejandro Rodriguez (22-15-1, 13 Kos) of Guadalajara Mexico.

Alejandro enters the ring first and receives the obligatory cheers from the Mexican/Mexican Americans in the crowd.

After a long pause with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” blaring on the arena sound system, quite sentimental, Robert Easter makes his way into the ring.

The 1st round is mostly posturing with neither fighter able to effectively land, lots of 1-2’s from Easter miss and Alejandros punches are too wide and looping to connect effectively.

The 2nd round starts fast and hard with Easter playing stalk and counter at the same time thowing right hand leads and countering anything Alejandro throws back with deadly accuracy. I look down at my laptop for a second to type these words and when I look back up, Alejandro is sitting on the canvas! I quickly ask around press row, “hey what happened?” One reporter claims, “I missed it — I was looking at my phone!” It’s the same story all around.  I guess smartphones need more attention than the fights! When action resumes, Alejandro falls again without getting hit with anything serious.  He gets up and is bullied into the ropes,where he falls for a third time, prompting referee Jay Nady to waive the fight off.

I finally got to see this phantom punch during replays — a hard left hook to the stomach was the punch that did the damage.

The 3rd fight of the evening pitted undefeated featherweight prospect Mario Barros (7-0, 3 Kos) of San Antonio Texas against Justin Lopez (5-2, 5 Kos) of Grand Rapids Michigan.

For the 3 rounds that this fight lasted the difference in skill size and speed is too great for Justin Lopez to overcome. The tall lanky Mario Barros is nailing Justin at will either on offense or on counters with the short arms of Justin unable to reach the target at all. In the 3rd round, Justin is absorbing a horrible beating but not seeming to be seriously hurt, when he is suddenly rocked back against the ropes and teed off on for a long 15 seconds, absorbing shots to the rib cage and head. Two huge uppercuts snap his head back, prompting the referee to jump in and halt the one-sided carnage.

Mario Barrios wins it via 3rd round TKO.

In the bout preceding the televised card, squat featherweight whirlwind Jorge Lara (26-0-1, 18 Kos) puts on a marvelous display of non-stop punching and completely overwhelms his opponent in the very first round, scoring one knockdown and forcing a referee’s stoppage. The poor victim of the mugging in this contest was Mario Macias of Mexico City, Mexico, (25-14, 13 Kos).

This Jorge Lara is someone to watch for in the future; he fights like a more aggressive pocket-sized Canelo Alvarez.

In the fight that followed the main event, featherweight star Abner Mares (28-1-1, 15 Kos) earned a gift unanimous decision over friend and former sparring partner Arturo Reyes (18-4, 5 Kos) of Nueo Laredo Mexico.

In what looked like a complete mismatch on paper turned into an entertaining 10 round scrap, with Reyes bringing the fight to Mares for the duration of the fight. Mares landed the harder shots but they were mostly thrown one at a time, and he spent long stretches of the night laying against the ropes.

It is pretty clear that Abner had a hard time getting pumped up fighting after the main event and against a friend, no less.  He also claimed in the post fight interview to have woken the day of the fight with flu-like symptoms and did not want to back out of the fight.

Abner was lucky to escape with a win, as his face was visibly busted up and reddened by the 4th round.

 

 

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