Las Vegas, the mecca for boxing, hosted the first series of fights in the Premier Boxing Championship (PBC) boxing series this past weekend at the MGM’s Grand Garden Arena.
The fight was the first of the PBC series, which was broadcast on NBC Sports and Spike TV.
The first bout in the series is designed to give boxing a larger viewership on a bigger stage, rather than the pay-per-view bouts that have come to dominate boxing over the last decade.
Boxing has become more of a niche sport, which was not the case in the 1960s through the 80s, when the sport had a much bigger stage. Boxing officials hope the PBC series, broadcast to the general public, will bring more people into the sport.
In the first co-headliner, Adrian Broner defeated John Molina by a unanimous decision in the Junior Welterweight 12-round bout.
It was a fight of many contrasts with Broner, the smooth and gifted boxer from the streets of Cincinnati, Ohio, in the mold of a younger Floyd Mayweather, and Molina, the brawler from Covina, California, with the big punch.
Early in the bout, Molina tried to corner Broner, using his bigger stature to bully Broner into the corners. But Broner used his superior speed to hit and run, outlasting Molina in the ring and tiring him out.
As the fight moved on, Broner used his speed to rattle, stick and move Molina several times, but late into the fight, he couldn’t get the knock down.
“I had to be careful with him because he can punch,” said Broner after the fight. “He wanted me to sit there to bang it out there with him. But why would I do that when God gave me some many gifts that can help me win?”
Broner won on the judge’s cards: 120-108, 120-108, and 118-110. This victory moved his record to 30-1 with 22 knockouts, while Molina’s record dropped to 27-6.
The next headliner, Robert “the Ghost” Guerrero from Gilroy, took on Keith “One Time” Thurmon from Clearwater, Florida, in a Welterweight bout. Unlike the Broner vs. Molina fight that was a bore, the Guerrero vs. Thurmon fight was action-packed.
Thurmon is a swift heavy hitter, while Guerrero is a defensive fighter with a chin and a punch.
In the first round, they came out hard and fast against each other. Thurmon was the faster outside boxer, while Guerrero was more of the inside boxer.
The first two rounds could have gone either way, as the two studied each other, but Thurmon won these rounds as he forced the action.
In the third round, as a result of an inadvertent head-butt by Guerrero, a knot surfaced on Thurmon’s head, protruding like a fist. But Guerrero didn’t capitalize on this.
Instead, he stuck to his inside fight game, which Thurmon exploited, hitting him from the outside and moving away from Guerrero’s jabs. While he was in control of the fight, Thurmon’s power shots began to get to Guerrero.
Late in the ninth round, Thurmon rocked Guerrero with a hook to the ear, knocking him down.
“That shot behind my head kind of buzzed me,” said Guerrero. “It was a shot, but I was able to recover and weather the storm.”
After sitting down for the count up to five, Guerrero bounced up and lasted the rest of the round. The knockdown must have ignited something. Guerrero came back with a vengeance getting Thurmon on the ropes and attacking his body and head as the crowd came to its feet.
“I put the pressure on Thurmon and I got inside and I just went to work,” said Guerrero.
In the eleventh and twelfth rounds, the two boxers traded vicious punches, but it was clear that Thurmon was set to win.
In a unanimous decision, Thurmon won the fight on the judge’s cards: 120-107, 118-109, and 118-108. This win put him at a record of 25-0, while Guerrero’s record is 32-3-1.
“I didn’t win the fight, but I think I won the hearts of America,” said Guerrero after the fight. “He came and did his job. Thurmon landed some good shots on me.”
“Thurmon has a lot of power and he is one of the hardest hitters I have faced,” he continued.
The PBC series also included a featherweight division bout as Abner Mares defeated Arturo Reyes.
Over 11,000 people attended the fight with 3.4 million viewers on NBC, a ratings success. The PBC boxing series will continue with 20 fights over the next year.