Monday, December 05, 2022  |



Keith Thurman wants to be the first to knock out Robert Guerrero


Robert Guerrero never has been knocked out. Keith Thurman Jr. wants to be first fighter to do so.

“Definitely,” said Thurman, when asked if craved a stoppage against Guerrero during a Wednesday conference call. “We respect Robert. Robert’s never been stopped, and when I hear that a fighter has never been stopped, then I hear that as a challenge.”

THE RING’s No. 7-rated welterweight ahead of No. 8 Guerrero (32-2-1, 18 knockouts), Thurman (24-0, 21 KOs) will get his chance when the boxers meet on March 7 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on the debut card of NBC’s new boxing series titled “Premier Boxing Champions” (“PBC on NBC”).

Thurman and Guerrero are part of a doubleheader that includes No. 5-rated junior welterweight Adrien Broner opposite John Molina on a show that commences a multi-year deal between the network and adviser Al Haymon.

Although Thurman thoroughly dominated last month’s shutout unanimous decision over previously undefeated Leonard Bundu, scoring a first-round knockdown during fight, the 26-year-old whose nickname is “One Time” lamented the loss of his three-bout knockout streak.

Thurman had scored knockouts in 11 of his previous 12 bouts in advance of Bundu, with only Jan Zaveck going the distance in March 2013 while being outpointed 120-108 on all three judges’ cards.

“The last fight, we got a knockdown, so I was able to satisfy the little bit of the puncher in me by producing a knockdown in the first round of the last fight,” said Thurman. “I just wasn’t able to put the icing on the cake by cutting the bout short.”

Guerrero, 31, is coming off a hard-fought unanimous decision over Japan’s Yoshihiro Kamegai in June to rebound from a unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May 2013. A southpaw who is nicknamed “The Ghost,” Guerrero has fought four times as a welterweight since rising from lightweight to make his division debut with a unanimous decision over Selcuk Aydin in July 2012.

“I want it especially being that I’m a puncher, and knowing that he’s coming up from the lighter divisions. Floyd Mayweather came up from the lighter divisions. Manny Pacquiao came up from the lighter divisions,” said Thurman.

“Some of the best fighters in the world have made their way up into the welterweight division and they hold their own and they go toe-to-toe with guys like me who were originally 147 pounds and who always was and always will be…I’m going to be training extremely hard for this fight, and we’re truly looking forward to the challenge that ‘The Ghost’ is going to bring, and we’re looking forward to having a fight that goes less than 12 rounds. But we will be prepared no matter what the outcome.”