Keith Thurman claims his Premier Boxing Champions fight against Robert Guerrero on March 7 will not go the distance.
Guerrero’s father, Ruben, isn’t so sure about that. Ruben Guerrero called Thurman, who goes by the nickname “One Time,” “Run Time” after Thurman was unable to knock out Leonard Bundu in winning a unanimous decision in December.
While the verbal sparring made for good headlines, the two fighters spoke respectfully about each other during a recent conference call in advance of their bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“Nah, I didn’t call him [‘Run Time’], my father called him that. I respect every fighter that comes in the ring with me,” said the 31-year-old Guerrero (32-2-1, 18 KOs), a former four-division world champion.
“Keith Thurman is a great fighter. He’s quick on his feet, quick with his hands. He has power. You got to respect that. Whatever is gonna happen in that ring, whether it’s inside or outside, you have to be ready for it.”
While the charismatic 26-year-old Thurman (24-0, 21 KOs) didn’t back off his claim of ending the bout with a KO, the Clearwater, Florida, native offered equally high praise for Guerrero’s skills.
“He’s an active fighter. He’ll fight you on the inside. He’ll try to hit you with his power punches from the outside,” Thurman said. “He’s truly a fighter. He wants to fight.
“I plan on Robert coming in and trying to take it—bring the dog out of me, show me the dog within himself—and show me how tough he really is and back up all that he and his team has stated before.”
Guerrero has fought just twice in the last two years, but he believes his experience in big fights will counter any edge in power Thurman may possess.
“Keith hasn’t fought anybody like me,” Guerrero said. “He’s fought tough guys, guys that were strong, but nobody like me. We’re gonna be 100 percent prepared. This ain’t a chess game, we come to get it.”
While Thurman agreed that Guerrero will pose a huge challenge, he said he’s looking forward to handing the Gilroy, California, native his first defeat via knockout.
“Robert’s never been stopped,” Thurman said. “And when I hear that a fighter has never been stopped, then I hear that as a challenge.”