Keith Thurman outpointed Robert Guerrero on Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada to retain his WBA World welterweight title.
Thurman put Guerrero down in the ninth round on his way to a lop-sided unanimous decision victory. The scorecards at the end of the fight read 120-107, 118-109, and 118-108.
Guerrero came out strong, looking to close the distance and put on the hurt. But he was unable to cut off the ring effectively on the swift Thurman and his few offensive successes were too far in between.
Thurman controlled the fight from the opening bell, displayed excellent ring generalship, and landed repeated right hands for which the game Guerrero had no answers.
Compubox numbers support the final scores: Thurman landing 211 out of 598; Guerrero 104 out of 497.
“I know I was hurting him each and every round,” Thurman said after the fight. “But he’s a veteran and knew how to pace himself and stay a little out of my range.”
Thurman (25-0, 22 KOs), 26 years old, came to the bout having previously outpointed Leonard Bundu in a tactical chess match in December 2014. Before Bundu, Thurman had stopped Julio Diaz and veteran Jesus Soto Karass.
In his previous fight, 31-year-old Robert Guerrero (32-3-1, 18 KOs) defeated Yoshihiro Kamegai in a savage 2014 Fight of the Year candidate at the StubHub Center in California. That bout followed Guerrero’s loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May 2013.
The two fighters came out with both guns blazing in the first round before settling down into a cat and mouse chase, with Thurman working the perimeter of the ring and Guerrero stalking. Thurman got to work with his right hand from the get-go.
The next few rounds followed this trend, with Guerrero stalking and showing some spark, but Thurman well in control of the action and seemingly landing at will.
In the ninth round, Thurman landed with an upper cut and a combination to put Guerrero down on the deck. The Ghost was slow to get up, but survived the round.
Guerrero got it back together in the tenth round and the two fighters delivered the most exciting installment of the night.
Guerrero came out motivated for the last round, looking for the only way he could take the fight– a knockout. Despite trading shots early in the round, Thurman played it safe, kept his distance, and refused to accept any risky engagements until the last bell.
With the win Thurman remains undefeated and continues his ascend in the welterweight rankings.
The loss for Guerrero will mean a tumble down the rankings, followed by a likely rebuilding process. Battle-worn Guerrero still has plenty of fight left in him and despite his loss, put on a good show for the national television audience.
“That’s the kind of performance that wins the hearts of fans even when you don’t win the fight,” Guerrero said. “The fans love that and that’s what boxing is all about.”
In the co-feature former WBA World welterweight champion Adrien Brone defeated John Molina Jr. with a unanimous decision in a tactical bout.
Keith Thurman vs Robert Guerrero (Scores are not official)
(Refresh this page for updates throughout the fight)
Round 1: Main event! Guerrero in red, Thurman wears white trunks. Thurman comes out swinging. Looks intense. Right from Thurman. Single shots from both, but big shots. Jab from Thurman. Right to the body Thurman. Minute in. Rights exchanged. Combination from Thurman rocks Guerrero . Right to the breadbasket from Thurman. Thurman tries to close distance, eats a right. Right to the body from Thurman. Combo from Thurman. Thurman pressuring. Big right from Thurman lands. 10-9 Thurman
Round 2: Meet in the middle of the ring. Vying, measuring. Thurman pumping the jab. Close quarters, neither land. Right from Thurman. Left to the body from Guerrero. Guerrero throwing but everything blocked. Big right uppercut from Thurman. Right Thurman. Left right Thurman. Left from Guerrero. Thurman punishes the body. Jab jab right from Thurman. One Time looking for an opening. Guerrero not getting off. 20-18 Thurman in control.
Round 3: Center of the ring, looking for openings. Guerrero lunges. Nothing. Now Thurman, same. Fighters keeping their distance, and darting in to punch. Right to the body Thurman. Jab Guerrero. Guerrero taking control. They clinch. Left hook from Thurman. Thurman trying to put The Ghost on his back foot. Huge lead right hand from Thurman. Right from Guerrero. Right from Thurman to close out the round. 30-27 Thurman
Round 4: Thurman looking. Jab, body jab Thurman. Thurman trying to close the distance, but Guerrero not letting him. Three punch combo, Thurman. Guerrero right hook. Left from Guerrero. Thurman misses jab, too far away. Right hook from Guerrero catches Thurman. Right hand on the chin from Thurman. Repeat. 40-36 Thurman
Round 5: Guerrero stalking. Thurman hook misses. Straight left from Guerrero. Right hand from Thurman. Minute in, Thurman moving well. Guerrero trying to cut off the ring on boxing Thurman. Left hook Thurman. Right hook Guerrero. Chopping right from Guerrero. Guerrero to the body. 49-46
Round 6: They come out swinging, back to boxing. Thurman working the perimeter as Guerrero stalks. Jab from Thurman. Another. Thurman takes a left to the body. BIG right from Thurman. What a chin on Guerrero! Jab Thurman. Right from Thurman. Guerrero uppercut. Guerrero right counters Thurman jab. Right from Thurman. Left hook from Thurman. Huge right Thurman. Thurman headhunting. Guerrero barely survives round. 59-55
Round 7: Thurman back to dancing, Guerrero chasing. Left hook from Thurman over Guerrero right. Both miss with uppercuts. Jab Thurman. Jab to the body, Thurman. Hook from Thurman. Thurman hook looking good now. Relatively uneventful round. 69-64 Thurman
Round 8: Jab, Thurman. Combo Thurman. Right to the body from Thurman lands. Left to the body, now. Right hand from Thurman. Right from Thurman. Jab Thurman, countered by Guerrero. Minute left, jab to head jab to body from Thurman. Guerrero combo, ends with right to the body. Big right to Guerrero’s body. Left right, Thurman. Another. A left to the body from Thurman. 79-73 Thurman
Round 9: Right hook from Guerrero and Thurman spins out. Left from Thurman. Right, Thurman. Right hand from Thurman. Guerrero inactive. Rights to the body from Guerrero. Stiff jab from Thurman. Right hand for Thurman very reliable. Thurman uppercut. KNOCKDOWN Guerrero takes his time getting up. He’s up. Thurman looking to close it. Guerrero trapped in the corner. Eating punishment. Hardly survives the round. 89-81
Round 10: Thurman comes out looking for blood. Thurman now taking his time. Time out to fix the tape on Guerrero’s glove. Right hand Thurman lands. Left from Guerrero. Left hook, Thurman. Big left from Guerrero but pays for it by eating a right. Brawling against the ropes, no advantage. Uppercut Thurman. Another. Another. Thurman fighting with his back on the ropes, landing combo. Good inside action against the ropes. Guerrero punishing the body. Thurman spins out, back to center of ring. Big right from Thurman. Great round. 99-90
Round 11: Championship rounds! Right hook Guerrero. Left hook Thurman. Three punch combo from Thurman. Thurman using the ring, Guerrero on his tail. Big right from Thurman. 1-2 from Thurman lands. Thurman keeping away, Guerrero not cutting off the ring. Thurman not throwing. Against the ropes again, ref breaks them up. Thurman right hand, then left. Guerrero left jab to the body. 109-99
Round 12: Final round. Thurman comes alive, lands combo. Still on the move. Guerrero pressuring. Right hook Guerrero. Big combo from Thurman. Left upper cut from Guerrero with Thurman against the ropes. Another left uppercut, Guerrero. Guerrero lands big left. Left uppercut from Thurman. Right for Thurman. Minute left in the fight. Huge right lands on Guerrero’s head. Another. Guerrero still looking for it. Guerrero eats combination. 119-108