Keith Thurman's headlining win over Robert Guerrero was the blood-and-thunder climax to the debut of Premier Boxing Champions on NBC. Now Thurman is ready to get back in the ring and kick off PBC on ESPN.
The undefeated Thurman (25-0, 21 KOs) is bringing the 147-pound brawl to Tampa, Florida, just outside his hometown of Clearwater, on July 11 (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) when he faces off with veteran slugger Luis Collazo (36-6, 19 KOs). Collazo stopped Christoper Degollado in two rounds his last time out in April. The last time Thurman fought in Tampa was in 2009, when he was still on the come-up.
"It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid growing up in boxing to bring a fight back home," Keith Thurman said. "I grew up and saw Winky Wright bring a fight back here in Tampa. I’m just excited. I know Collazo has a lot of experience. He’s a very tough, durable opponent. I’m looking forward to being back in the ring and putting on a great performance."
The co-main feature pits Tony Harrison (21-0, 18 KOs) against Willie Nelson (23-2, 13 KOs) in a 10-round fight at 168 pounds. PBC on ESPN replaces the long-running Friday Night Fights, which ends its 17-year tenure tomorrow night. It puts Thurman back in the position of leading off for a new network series in back-to-back fights.
"Apparently I’m the guy to kick the ball off," he said. " It’s a pretty good position to have. I’m entertaining no matter what network I’m on. The words of Ben Getty just become truer and truer with each year of his passing. He used to say all that you ever want to do is perform for the networks. The networks have all the money. Ben said it doesn’t matter who writes the check, all that matters is that it doesn’t bounce. I’m just blessed to have performed on HBO, Showtime, NBC and now ESPN. It’s real exciting. I know that a lot of casual sports fans watch ESPN more than any other network. I look forward to getting a broader, bigger fan base and showing the world who Keith 'One Time' Thurman is."
Who "One Time" is, of course, is a devastating puncher who's left two dozen boxers napping in his wake. But despite scoring knockdowns against Guerrero and his prior opponent, Leonard Bundu, Thurman hasn't stopped anyone since Julio Diaz last spring. He's more than ready to get back to the business of bad intentions.
"This guy’s going to get hurt," Thurman said. "I know that I’m capable of it. My record shows it. I knocked down my last two opponents but I just was not able to get them out. We’re going to sit down just a little harder. We’re going to hit the heavy bag just a little longer this camp, and we’re going to put in the work to have some nice bangers during July for you guys."
For complete coverage of Thurman vs Collazo, visit our fight page.