Thurman Cleared The Bar Of Expectation, Barely, Against Guerrero

keith-thurman-robert-guerreroWell, he did what he was supposed to do and got the all-important “W.” Yes, Keith Thurman 25-0 (21) pretty much had things his way and won a lopsided decision over the determined but somewhat limited Robert Guerrero 32-3-1 (18) this past Saturday night. Prior to the bout everyone knew that as fighters at the world class level, Thurman held practically every advantage over Guerrero one fighter could hold over another except experience and toughness. After 12-rounds of spirited boxing, Thurman basically confirmed what we already knew.

We knew he was faster, punched harder, had a more imaginative offense and is the more aesthetically pleasing fighter to watch. However, Keith Thurman is, at least if you listen to many boxing observers, thought to be big time. And with the welterweight landscape about to change drastically within the next year, Thurman was and I guess still is the frontrunner and seen as a fighter to keep an eye on. No, that really hasn't changed, but I'll tell you what has changed – Thurman's cell phone will be blowing up with offers to fight other upper-tier welterweights jockeying for the same pole position that he is currently slotted.

Granted, I know Robert Guerrero is a tough fighter to look good against, and I said before the bout I wasn't expecting Thurman to win via stoppage. Keith dominated on the scorecards, but let’s face it, he's the bigger man, and did do what he wanted with Guerrero for most of the fight. However, Guerrero is easy to hit, isn't much of a puncher and isn't a full-fledged welterweight. And it also cannot be overlooked Thurman entered the ring at 162 and held a significant weight advantage.

Based on this past weekend’s showing, Thurman looked more like an athlete who throws accurate punches, but at times I think he gets caught in between styles and is unsure of his identity. He seems to wing it minute to minute and is unsure of what he's trying to do aside from looking for the knockout. He tried to go to Guerrero's body, but was often countered to the head by Robert. No, he was never hurt or in any trouble, but he did have to reset and work his way back in all over again. And when he did try to force Guerrero to the ropes, Robert routinely nailed him with counter left leads before he was pinned with his back to the ropes. Smartly, Thurman didn't go crazy trying to blast Guerrero out when he saw that he was being set up, and that's a positive sign. Then again once it was established Guerrero could handle his power and wasn't going anywhere, it seemed as if Thurman started to slightly doubt himself until he scored the knockdown in the ninth round. After the knockdown his confidence was rejuvenated but he seemed to tire and didn't finish the fight strong.

Thurman may have passed the eye test with many quasi boxing fans, but the card he was headlining was purposely put together with the idea of showcasing him as a future star fighter. He was supposed to make the fans watching long to see him again, and I just don't think he did that. I can't say that he's improved all that much over the last year. And I'm not sure he can improve further with Dan Birmingham.

What Thurman did against Guerrero was enough to clear the expectation bar but not sail over it. He didn't shock and amaze like some were counting on him doing. His flashes of physical brilliance will hold fan interest a little while longer, but after that I don't know? I don't think Thurman will have much trouble in the future finding quality opponents to take him on. And if that turns out to be the case, he'll make some money, and that he deserves. He is still young at age 26, so he hasn't fully flowered yet as a fighter, but he is on the clock. I for one am still waiting for the breakout fight in which he finally blends his physical skill with some fighting aptitude, and I don't think I saw it versus Robert Guerrero. There were positive signs of that during the fight but not enough for him to emerge as a breakout star. Until then my judgment on his star quotient is still on hold.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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COMMENTS

-michaelabii :

Franks analysis is spot on in my opinion. I hesitated initially making any assumptions mostly because "The Ghost" is a capable fighter who can box and brawl with the best of them. Guerrero is at best very limited against boxers who can move well and in my opinion may have reached his peak when he fought May weather. he seems to have regressed somewhat since that fight. If anything it showed me that Thurman can be countered when he lunges in with those power shots. He also did not particularly impress me with his inside fighting when "The Ghost" mauled him rather ineffectively on the ropes. He certainly fought a good intelligent fight and he can hit and this puts him at the top of the welterweight sweepstakes. I look forward to a fight between him and Amir Khan where I would pick Thurman to win handily via early KO. He is athletic enough to get inside Khans reach and he can hit which brings us to another nagging question. besides May-weather, Pac-Man, Thurman and Khan how deep is the welterweight division ?? I do not see any other superstar besides these four names. Thurman does fight smart and this is where he excels in my opinion. He instinctively knows when his power will not blast his opponent out and then decides to box smartly. Still a work in progress but any progress is progress at this stage.


-MCM :

I agree. This fight reminded me of David Lemieux vs. Rosado. Like Rosado, I don't think Guerrero is anything but a tough gatekeeper fighter at this stage. And like the young, heralded, hard-hitting Lemieux, I think Thurmon did enough to keep the buzz going, but not enough to make that buzz crescendo. People are right to criticize Lemieux defense, but Thurmon's is atrocious even by that low standard. One Time left himself open about a Hundred Times --so wide open I felt like I could have hit him from where I was standing in Brooklyn. Granted he took well the few punches Guerrero managed to throw, so there's that, and granted Guerrero didn't give him much cause to tighten up the D, but Thurmon's offense seems predicated on bringing back his hands to unleash flying bombs, and yeah the kid's quick and his legs don't quit, but it's a matter of time. Then again, it's always a matter of time. And Thurmon's time hasn't come yet. Maybe he'll raise his game as the competition rises in stature. But it would require a complete re-tooling of his style. Fun fighter though. Very distinctive.


-the Roast :

Guerrero really came to life after that knockdown. He looked finished laid out on the canvas. Thurman thought so too. Guerrero had his best rounds after that pinning Thurman to the ropes and letting him have it. The fight might have been different had he started that assault earlier.


-yomi :

I agree with a lot of the points raised in the OP. @TheRoast "The fight might have been different had he started that assault earlier." I had the same thought. In fact I expected Guererro to come out like that from round 1. Guerrero did his best work when he was close up, with his head on Thurman's chest. @michaelabii "I look forward to a fight between him and Amir Khan where I would pick Thurman to win handily via early KO. He is athletic enough to get inside Khans reach and he can hit which brings us to another nagging question. besides May-weather, Pac-Man, Thurman and Khan how deep is the welterweight division ??" Virgil Hunter will have seen the same flaws in Thurman that many others saw on Saturday night. I'd bet on Hunter being able to drill Khan to exploit them and come away with a win. Depth @ 147? Aside from the two outgoing super star destroyers, we have Khan, Thurman, Brook and Maidana. Tim Bradley and Shawn Porter both have a lot of fights left in them. Marquez might even have one big fight left in him. A bit further down the rankings we have Errol Spence and Sadam Ali. So, not that bad an offering, I think. Khan. Thurman, Brook and Maidana alone could serve up a lot of interesting fights.


-stormcentre :

Yep - some good points made by all. @ Roast; I think, with Thurman and how easily at times he hit Robert, gave Robert a little unpleasant surprise - kind of like an unexpected fecal transplant after a planned colonoscopy; if you will. You could see that Guerrero was not comfortable in there, and as much as it pains me to say it . . . that look on his face from the fight last weekend tells you all you need to know about where Robert is with his career right now. Hopefully I am wrong. As a competent/professional southpaw, you're almost always in for a tough time if you haven't got above average speed and/or power.


-michaelabii :

t of the points raised in the OP. @TheRoast "The fight might have been different had he started that assault earlier." I had the same thought. In fact I expected Guererro to come out like that from round 1. Guerrero did his best work when he was close up, with his head on Thurman's chest. @michaelabii "I look forward to a fight between him and Amir Khan where I would pick Thurman to win handily via early KO. He is athletic enough to get inside Khans reach and he can hit which brings us to another nagging question. besides May-weather, Pac-Man, Thurman and Khan how deep is the welterweight division ??" Virgil Hunter will have seen the same flaws in Thurman that many others saw on Saturday night. I'd bet on Hunter being able to drill Khan to exploit them and come away with a win. Depth @ 147? Aside from the two outgoing super star destroyers, we have Khan, Thurman, Brook and Maidana. Tim Bradley and Shawn Porter both have a lot of fights left in them. Marquez might even have one big fight left in him. A bit further down the rankings we have Errol Spence and Sadam Ali. So, not that bad an offering, I think. Khan. Thurman, Brook and Maidana alone could serve up a lot of interesting fights.


-michaelabii :

t of the points raised in the OP. @TheRoast "The fight might have been different had he started that assault earlier." I had the same thought. In fact I expected Guererro to come out like that from round 1. Guerrero did his best work when he was close up, with his head on Thurman's chest. @michaelabii "I look forward to a fight between him and Amir Khan where I would pick Thurman to win handily via early KO. He is athletic enough to get inside Khans reach and he can hit which brings us to another nagging question. besides May-weather, Pac-Man, Thurman and Khan how deep is the welterweight division ??" Virgil Hunter will have seen the same flaws in Thurman that many others saw on Saturday night. I'd bet on Hunter being able to drill Khan to exploit them and come away with a win. Depth @ 147? Aside from the two outgoing super star destroyers, we have Khan, Thurman, Brook and Maidana. Tim Bradley and Shawn Porter both have a lot of fights left in them. Marquez might even have one big fight left in him. A bit further down the rankings we have Errol Spence and Sadam Ali. So, not that bad an offering, I think. Khan. Thurman, Brook and Maidana alone could serve up a lot of interesting fights.