When he was a kid, Keith Thurman enjoyed perusing a boxing history book and daydreamed that he would one day grace its pages.
On March 7, the Clearwater, Florida, native and 147-pound champion gets the opportunity to make some history of his own when he takes on Robert Guerrero as part of the inaugural Premier Boxing Champions event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas—the first prime-time boxing card to be televised on NBC since 1985.
“This is a dream come true. I remember when I was 10 years old and I was looking through a history book on boxing and I said to myself, ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing for you, your face to be in a book like this one day,’” said the undefeated Thurman (24-0, 21 KOs). “I believe now that NBC is back into boxing on prime time, many fighters in all of the weight classes have an extreme opportunity to start building that household name.
"The world will start hearing more about these fighters, and eventually our names will get put on the list with Oscar De La Hoya, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns, (Mike) Tyson, Evander (Holyfield). So, this is it. We’re about to bring boxing back in 2015.”
Guerrero (32-2-1, 18 KOs) is a four-division champion who has been under the bright Las Vegas lights before when he fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the MGM in May 2013.
But he views his upcoming bout as an even greater opportunity to make a name for himself.
“I think this is going to be even bigger, with the viewing audience that comes along with NBC,” the 31-year-old Gilroy, California, native said. “I’m excited about it and very focused and ready to go.”
Both fighters have captivating personal stories filled with triumph and tragedy.
Guerrero’s wife, Casey, recently celebrated her fifth anniversary of being cancer-free after a long battle with leukemia—one that saw her husband walk away from a lucrative title shot to be by her side.
Thurman dedicates every day in the gym to the trainer that got him started in the sport as a 7-year-old, Ben Getty—who unexpectedly passed away in May 2009.
“I think this is a terrific fight. This is how we break the ice,” Thurman said. “I really believe that my career is truly starting on March 7.
“To be headlining on NBC prime time, I really can’t ask for anything else. This is a real fight. We both have a lot to gain from a victory here, and the fans truly have something to look forward to.”