Thurman Unanimous over Guerrero ; Broner Mauls Molina ; UFC 185 Notebook

thurman
Keith Thurman whips Guerrero
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com
Thurman Beats Guerrero In Thrilling Bout

Keith Thurman defeated Robert Guerrero by unanimous decision (120-107, 118-109, 118-108) to improve his record to 25-0.

LAS VEGAS — Keith Thurman and Robert Guerrero, fighting in the first main event on NBC in prime time in 30 years, opened adviser Al Haymon’s brainchild, the “Premier Boxing Champions”
series, with a bruising, bloody bang Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

It was a spirited, exciting fight filled with power punches and toe-to-toe exchanges, but Thurman dominated. He dropped Guerrero hard in the ninth round and went on to win a lopsided
unanimous decision as he retained his welterweight world title for the first time before an announced crowd of 10,106.

The judges had it 120-107, 118-109 and 118-108 for Thurman, who overcame terrible swelling on the left side of his forehead from the third round on. ESPN.com also had it for Thurman,
119-108.

The arena was decked out with an elaborate array of bells and whistles — with staging and lighting à la the WWE — befitting the magnitude of the network prime-time return. It was the
first of six prime-time cards this year (20 overall between afternoons and prime time on the network and NBC Sports Network) as part of Haymon’s time-buy deal, with more to come next
year as well.

There were no entourages in the ring before the fight — just the boxers and their trainers — and an off-camera ring announcer to introduce the proceedings. Interestingly, no
reference was made to Thurman’s world title, clearly Haymon’s decision as he seeks to downplay the sanctioning bodies, a move that has led to heavy speculation that he will seek to
introduce a PBC belt at some point.

When it came to the fight, Thurman and Guerrero delivered the action fans hoped for, despite the one-sided nature of the scorecards.

“Robert Guerrero was a tremendous warrior,” Thurman said. “He’s known as ‘The Ghost’ and is a veteran, a [former] world champion. He showed it today and was a little more calm.

“I thought he was going to press more in the beginning rounds. But he’s a veteran, and he knew how to pace himself and stay a little bit out of range. This was a tremendous fight and
an incredible learning experience for me, Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman.”

Guerrero gave him full credit for his victory.

“He is one of the best. He came in and stuck to his game plan. I take my hat off to him,” Guerrero said. “I’m not a hater.”

Thurman (25-0, 21 KOs), who said repeatedly during the lead-up to the fight that he knew how important it was to be exciting for the network audience, came out firing hard in the first
round. He was stalking Guerrero (32-3-1, 18 KOs), throwing heavy power shots to the head and body, looking for a knockout. Guerrero took some big shots, and the crowd got right into
the fight.

Guerrero began to give it right back in the second round, landing a hard, clean right hand to Thurman’s head that he took well as the fighters began to settle into their rhythms.

But in the third round, an accidental head-butt left Thurman with swelling on the left side of his forehead.

Although the swelling looked bad, it did not hamper Thurman’s aggressiveness. He continued to go after Guerrero and land cleanly. A sharp right hand wobbled Guerrero in the fourth
round.

Another hard right hand at the bell ending the sixth round sent Guerrero staggering into the ropes in an increasingly dominant performance by Thurman, who won an interim 147-pound
title in 2013 by 10th-round knockout of Diego Chaves, made three defenses and was recently elevated to a full titleholder.

Guerrero, 31, of Gilroy, California, whose face also was showing damage, continued to grind and throw power shots, but he was just missing many of them.

In the ninth round, Thurman, 26, of Clearwater, Florida, scored a huge knockdown. He landed a flush right uppercut, another right hand and a window-dressing left hand as Guerrero
crumpled to the mat, his left eye badly bleeding from the shots as Thurman raised his arm.

But Guerrero survived and rallied big time in the 10th round to hurt Thurman, whose purse was $1.5 million, as they exchanged to the delight of the crowd, which was on its feet and
going wild.

“I’m a fighter. He caught me with a good shot, dazed me and I went down,” Guerrero said. “I could have got up quicker but I took the eight count. Like I said, he has power.”

Said Ruben Guerrero, Robert’s father and trainer, “To me my son is a champion. To this day he is a champion. He fought one of the toughest fighters. He was good on his feet. We just
have to get back to work and catch whatever they bring in.”

The crowd spent most of the exciting 12th round chanting for Guerrero, who earned $1.225 million, as they went at it hard until the final bell.

According to CompuBox statistics, Thurman connected on 211 of 598 punches (35 percent), and Guerrero landed 104 of 497 (21 percent).

“Thurman is a tough fighter. He came to fight. Now I know why they call him ‘One Time.’ He has a lot of power in both of his hands and is fast,” Guerrero said. “I came to fight. I know
I didn’t win the fight but I won the hearts of America.

“I always come through and keep fighting my heart out, and that’s why the fans love me. I just can’t wait to get back into the ring and give America more fights like this.”

If Guerrero, Thurman or any of the other top fighters who will appear on PBC on NBC do that, boxing might be back in prime time for many years to come.

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broner
Broner dominates, defeats Molina
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

 Broner Dominates Molina
LAS VEGAS — Junior welterweights Adrien Broner and John Molina Jr. were tasked with fighting the first bout on the return of boxing to prime time for the first time in decades as
adviser/manager Al Haymon’s “Premier Boxing Champions” series kicked off on NBC on Saturday night.

While the matchup looked as though it might deliver fireworks in theory, what it did deliver in reality was an easy decision win for Broner, who outclassed Molina at the MGM Grand
Garden Arena on the undercard of the welterweight title bout between Keith Thurman and challenger Robert Guerrero.

Quicker, fresher and better technically, Broner cruised to a unanimous decision while taking very little punishment as he bolstered his chances for a title opportunity in a fourth
weight class.

It was not a hard fight to score, as two judges had it a 120-108 shutout for Broner, with the third judge scoring it for him 118-110. ESPN.com also had it for Broner, 119-108.

Cincinnati’s Broner, 25, who has won world titles at junior lightweight, lightweight and welterweights, won his third fight in a row since dropping down to the 140-pound weight class
after losing his 147-pound welterweight world title in December 2013 when Marcos Maidana knocked him down twice and won a unanimous decision in an upset.

“Listen to them [the fans]. Like always, a lot of them not on my side. But at the end of the day, the last time I fought for the crowd, I took my first loss,” Broner said. “So no
disrespect to anybody, but I had to do what I had to do to win today.

“Even a vicious guy like Molina, I didn’t go nowhere. I jabbed and took every shot he threw and gave back mine. And I won unanimously.”

While Broner kept a steady pace in the first two rounds, Molina threw virtually no punches and was being outclassed. He tried to throw a few big shots, but they were wild punches that
missed. But he broke through in the third round when he nailed Broner with a heavy right hand and a left hook and then another right later in the round, bringing the pro-Molina crowd
to life.

In the fifth round, Molina nailed Broner with a couple more right hands. Broner began to jaw with him, so Molina punched him again.

Broner has a good jab and controlled the sixth round with it, doubling and tripling it against a much slower Molina (27-6, 22 KOs).

Broner (30-1, 22 KOs) kept his quicker hands moving in a big seventh round as he fired some clean-connecting punches that Molina had no answer for.

He played to the crowd by making faces, ducking up and down in the eighth round, and firing up the crowd. That was Broner’s way of probably showing he believed he was in control, which
he appeared to be as he cruised to the easy decision.

According to CompuBox statistics, Broner landed 219 of 502 punches (44 percent), and Molina was limited to landing just 54 of 299 blows (22 percent).

During the lead-up to the fight, Molina had promised to go for broke and make it a slugfest, like many of his fights have been. But he did not do that.

“First of all, Adrien fought a good fight and did what he had to do,” Molina said. “But he should have kept his word when he said he was going to sit there and fight me. He did what he
had to do to win, but I thought he was a tough fighter. He boxes well, but he doesn’t exchange well.

“He moves a lot and doesn’t like to exchange too much. When I get on the inside, he is holding me or saying I lead with my head. I’m a professional in there and am trying to do what I
want to do.”

Molina, 32, of Covina, California, lost his third fight in a row and for the first time in his past six bouts. Although Molina had lost some fights, Haymon wanted a usually television
-friendly fighter such as Molina on the debut PBC card. After all, his 11th-round knockout loss to Lucas Matthysse last April was voted the 2014 fight of the year by the Boxing Writers
Association of America. But that Molina was nowhere to be seen against Broner.

“You know it’s always AB time,” Broner said. “Like I said, John Molina is tough. But like I said, I’m still beautiful at the end of the fight. He wanted me to sit there and bang it out
with him, but why would I do that when God gave me so many gifts that I can use?

“After a while, I knew he was going to start going for the gusto, so I just stayed smart. I was just talking to him every shot he missed and said, ‘Really?'”

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ufc185

UFC 185 NOTEBOOK: VIOLENT TENDENCIES
BY BRIAN KNAPP
A nine-month reign atop the Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight mountain was not enough for Johny Hendricks.

In his first appearance since surrendering the 170-pound title to Robbie Lawler, Hendricks will lock horns with Matt Brown at UFC 185 “Pettis vs. dos Anjos” on Saturday at the American
Airlines Center in Dallas. Whoever emerges victorious will have a claim as a potential No. 1 contender.

“I want to get back to that title,” Hendricks told UFC.com in a pre-fight interview, “and nothing is going to get in the way of that.”

Brown probably begs to differ. The 34-year-old Xenia, Ohio, native carries ambitions of his own and has posted seven wins across his last eight appearances, effectively shedding his
journeyman label. However, Brown finds himself on the rebound following his five-round decision loss to Lawler in the UFC on Fox 12 headliner in July.

“I just want to constantly evolve, and I think the only way to do that is to put myself out there,” Brown said. “I want to do one step further than what everyone else is doing.”

Hendricks holds some definite advantages on paper, particularly in the wrestling department. The Team Takedown export was a four-time NCAA All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State
University, where he won consecutive national championships in 2005 and 2006. Hendricks also wields a concussive left hand that has cut down fighters like Martin Kampmann and Jon
Fitch. Healthy anxieties drive Brown.

“I’m scared of Johny Hendricks,” he said. “I’m afraid that he’s working harder than me. I’m afraid that he’s better than me. There is no motivator like fear, right? As I get closer to
the fight, I’m going to be more and more scared, until the bell rings and then the fear is gone. Now, he has got to be afraid of me.”

The split decision defeat to Lawler at UFC 181 in December still haunts Hendricks, an Ada, Okla., native who has never lost back-to-back bouts.

“I thought I won,” he said. “That’s whenever I told myself, ‘That won’t happen again.’ I want that belt back, and I know how to get it. Now is the time to prove it.”

Can Esparza stay at the top?

Carla Esparza wears the bull’s eye all champions must wear.

Esparza will defend the Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s strawweight crown for the first time when she faces the unbeaten Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the UFC 185 co-main event. A Team
Oyama rep, the 27-year-old champion will enter the cage on a five-fight winning streak, having claimed 115-pound gold with a third-round submission on Rose Namjunas in December.

“I think I’ve reached basically the highest point that I can as a fighter being the UFC champion, but as my coach says, ‘Getting the belt: hard. Keeping the belt: even harder,’”
Esparza said. “I guess I’ll find out.”

Jedrzejczyk has rattled off eight straight wins to start her career, five of them by decision. She surfaced as the division’s top contender at UFC on Fox 13 in December, when she
exited her encounter with Nova Uniao’s Claudia Gadelha with a three-round split decision.

“She has some sick striking [and] really good takedown defense,” Esparza said. “She is one of the best fighters in the world, so it’s definitely going to be a challenge for me.”

THIS & THAT

Anthony Pettis is the sixth man to have held the UFC lightweight championship. Jens Pulver, Sean Sherk, B.J. Penn, Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson are the others … The seven
fighters who have defeated Rafael dos Anjos — Khabib Nurmagomedov, Gleison Tibau, Clay Guida, Tyson Griffin, Jeremy Stephens, Jorge Britto and Adriano Abu — own a cumulative 139-54-1
record … Former Dream and Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem sports 35 finishes among his 38 career victories … When Roufusport standout Sergio Pettis was born on Aug. 18, 1993,
the top five songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 list were UB40’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” Tag Team’s “Whoomp! (There It Is),” SWV’s “Weak,” The Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”
and Onyx’s “Slam” … Henry Cejudo in 2008 became the youngest American wrestler to win a gold medal, doing so at the age of 21 … Per FightMetric, Canadian lightweight Sam Stout
ranks third on the UFC’s all-time list in significant strikes landed with 970, trailing only Michael Bisping (1,095) and Edgar (1,091) … Seven of Roger Narvaez’s eight pro bouts have
taken place in the state of Texas, and he has won all seven of them … “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 15 alum Daron Cruickshank graduated from Olivet College with a Bachelor’s degree
in fitness management … Heavyweight Josh Copeland has captured titles in the Resurrection Fighting Alliance and Sparta Combat League promotions … Joseph Duffy was the last man to
defeat Conor McGregor, having submitted the “Notorious” Irishman with a first-round arm-triangle choke at a Cage Warriors Fighting Championship event in November 2010. Their bout took
just 38 seconds … Larissa Pacheco, 20, is the youngest fighter on the current UFC roster.

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