Boxing Back with a Bang on NBC Primetime

Keith Thurman Robert Guerrero

Keith Thurman unleashed big hands. Robert Guerrero displayed big heart.

Boxing returned to primetime television with a memorable welterweight bout on Saturday night between Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero and Keith Thurman on NBC.

Save for a third that witnessed Guerrero inflict punishment through shots and a headbutt that left Thurman with a Hasim Rahman-sized hematoma, the undefeated champion dominated the first nine rounds. Thurman’s impressive power-punching finally downed the southpaw, who hung on and then hung with his opponent. The tenth, with a rallying Guerrero rallying the crowd, appeared as a round-of-the-year candidate. The challenger, not afraid to trade, walked through bombs in the last three rounds to drop his own on Thurman.

The cards said 120-107, 118-109, and 118-108 for Thurman. The crowd said, “Great fight!”

Breitbart Sports scored the bout 116-111 for the welterweight titlist.

In the preliminary bout strangely dubbed a second main event (the not-so-main event?), a quick, slick Adrien Broner utilized superior footwork and head movement, a stiff jab, and an occasional uppercut to frustrate John Molina Jr. Molina connected in the third and the fifth but otherwise looked lethargic against a boxer who throws often but receives rarely. Broner quite accurately taunted in the eighth, “He can’t hit me.”

The judges saw the bout for the boxer over the puncher 120-108, 120-108, and 118-110. Breitbart Sports scored the bout 118-110 for Broner.

Despite the NBC audience, and censure from the World Boxing Council, the “can man” Broner used his controversial catchphrase–dubbed racist by the Mexico City-based alphabet-soup sanctioning body last year–to close his in-ring interview: “Anybody can get it—Africans, Mexicans.”

The bouts marked the first primetime appearance of championship boxing on NBC since 1985. The network has scheduled five more primetime boxing cards for 2015.