WBA welterweight world champion Keith “One time” Thurman (31- 0, 28 KOs) faces his most notable name yet when he takes on former multiple world champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero March 7th. The scheduled for 12 round main event bout will be televised on NBC. The location will be the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Guerrero enters the fight as a decisive underdog with some sports books having him at +475 to the -650 favorite Thurman. Thurman is well known for his punching power but has been met with more resistance as he has stepped up in class. Throughout the promotion Thurman has talked about relishing the challenge of facing someone in Guerrero who has never been stopped inside the distance. As he sees it as a challenge to become the first one to stop Guerrero. In his last fight Thurman had that same opportunity against unbeaten Leonard Bundu. Thurman dropped Bundu in round one but was extended the full 12 round distance in route to his unanimous decision victory. Against the former world champion Jan Zaveck in 2013 who had previously been stopped by Andre Berto, Thurman again was forced to go the 12 round distance. Styles make fights of course but those are two fairly recent fights against two opponents that don’t seem on the level of a Guerrero. To Thurman’s credit he showed in both of those fights that he is not one dimensional and boxes extremely well if necessary. Which is a major factor in him being such a big favorite. Many feel he will just outbox Guerrero.
Another reason why the odds may be so lopsided is because of Guerrero’s last fight. Guerrero won a thrilling but but very competitive unanimous decision over Yoshihiro Kamegai of Japan who he was heavily favored to defeat last June. Guerrero had not fought in 13 months entering that fight and the bout was a toe to toe affair. Guerrero took some good shots throughout the fight but clearly got the better of his opponent in route to the victory. The level of opposition definitely favors Guerrero who for starters fought the number one fighter in boxing in unbeaten Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. Mayweather outclassed the game Guerrero in route to the unanimous 12 round decision in May 2013. No shame in that as several top fighters have suffered that same fate against Mayweather Jr.
It would appear that it would be in Guerrero’s best interest to fight Thurman at close quarters and imply relentless pressure on him. This is what Guerrero did successfully in 2012 versus Andre Berto. Guerrero entered that fight as a slight underdog as he was perceived as the naturally smaller man having started his career at 126 . However, in the fight previous to Berto he outboxed an unbeaten Selcuk Aydin to win the WBC interim Welterweight tile in impressive fashion. Guerrero, who now resides in Las Vegas, more than proved he was a legit welterweight as he physically dominated Berto dropping him twice in route to the unanimous decision victory. Thurman is a much more complete and fresher fighter than that version of Andre Berto. What’s intriguing now is which way Thurman will try and fight Guerrero and if it will be successful. We will get that answer March 7th.