3 More Rounds

Thurman, Broner win on PBC debut

Photos: Naoki Fukuda / PBC

Photos: Naoki Fukuda / PBC

For the first time in nearly three decades, pro boxing was back in action on a Saturday night in prime time on NBC. In the feature contest, Keith “One Time” Thurman announced his arrival to the big-time welterweight scene with a dominant decision win over former 3-time champion Robert Guerrero.

Thurman landed thudding 1-2’s to the head and body in the early going, as Guerrero had a difficult time finding a rhythm with his counter shots. Both men were marked-up early, as Thurman developed a freaky hematoma on his upper forehead in the 3rd, while Guerrero’s eyes were red and swollen from the get-go due to Thurman’s laser-like punches up the middle.

A nasty double right cross combo by Thurman late in the 9th sent Guerrero crumbling to the canvas, and the Gilroy hero barely escaped the round. Guerrero then surprisingly was able to mount a mini-comeback in the 10th, as he pinned One Time on the ropes with quick combos. Both athletes closed the show strong in the 12th with spirited exchanges, but ultimately it was Thurman’s accurate power shots and effective lateral movement over the course of the match that made the difference. Thurman moved to 25-0 with 21 KO’s while retaining his WBA belt by scores of 120-107, 118-109, & 118-108.

Broner-Molina

In the co-feature (which was announced/promoted as the “first main event”), 3-division titlist Adrien “The Problem” Broner completely outclassed perennial contender John Molina Jr., winning by blowout decision in a junior welterweight tilt. The Cincinnati showman easily won the first six rounds of the bout off the strength and accuracy of his sharp jab, with Molina occasionally landing wild overhand right hands in return.

Broner picked up the pace in the seventh as he began to land slashing right cross-body jab combos at will, as Molina failed to put together any offense on a consistent basis. Scorecards read 120-108 x2 and 118-110 as The Problem earned victory number 30 of his career, while Molina drops his 6th pro match and likely falls out of serious contender status for the foreseeable future.

“The environment I’m in today, a lot of them were not on my side, but at the end of the day the last time I fought for the crowd I took my first loss,” said Broner after the fight. “So, no disrespect to everyone that came to see me fight today, I had to do what I had to do to get my victory today.

“Even a vicious guy like Molina, as you can see I stood right inside of his face and didn’t go anywhere. I jabbed and took every shot that he threw. I took mine and won the fight unanimously.”

It had been nearly 30 years since the last boxing broadcast on NBC, way back when Larry Holmes eeked-out a decision win over Carl “The Truth” Williams to retain his heavyweight championship back in 1985. As an awesome generational homage, broadcasting legend Marv Albert, who called Holmes-Williams, was the blow-by-blow announcer once again tonight. He teamed with Hall of Famer Sugar Ray Leonard on commentary, along with Al Michaels serving as the show’s host, and Laila Ali working the roaming reporter duties.

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