If Keith Thurman was delivering a message from the press conference podium Thursday at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, it fell on deaf ears.
With all of the fighters on Saturday’s Premier Boxing Champions debut card gathered in one spot, the unbeaten Thurman delivered a familiar warning to Robert Guerrero. He hit that now-familiar refrain: KOs for life.
“I’m coming for that knockout,” Thurman said. “He’s got a chin but they all do and they all fall. Even [Leonard Bundu] for 12 rounds hit the mat in the first. Don’t forget. I feel like Roy Jones. Y’all must’ve forgot.”
Guerrero was stoic on the podium while Thurman did his thing, but he could only laugh afterward.
“I got people saying they’re going to break my jaw, they’re going to knock me out, they’re going to do this, they’re going to do that, but talk is cheap,” he said. “I’m not buying it. I’m coming to fight. By saying you’re going to knock me out, it ain’t stopping me from coming at you. Just be ready.”
Joining Saturday night’s fighters at the press conference was the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard, who will serve as the analyst during the NBC broadcast. He had words of wisdom for the six fighters on the card, noting that at this point the game is more mental than physical.
If anyone would know, it’s Leonard, who fought in some of the biggest fights of his era. It was something else he said, though, that resonated with the fighters: That they all had the potential to be the new generation of fistic superstars.
“He comes from a generation where boxing was seen by the masses, by all of America,” Thurman said. “He’s just trying to help us understand how special this is.”
For Guerrero, who grew up as a Leonard fan, the afternoon took on a surreal quality.
“To see him right here next to you, to commentate your fight, on NBC on a network he came up on and became what he is today, it’s incredible to see that,” he said. “It just goes to show no matter where you come from, if you come from nothing or you come from big things, anything’s possible.”