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Thurman-Collazo does 1.1 million viewers on PBC on ESPN

thurman45689By Dan Ambrose: Last Saturday’s fight between Luis Collazo (36-7, 19 KOs) and WBA 147lb belt holder Keith “One Time” Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs) brought in decent numbers in coming in at 1.1 million viewers on Premier Boxing Champions on ESPN. While the numbers weren’t spectacular given that it was on free television, it was more three times the viewers ESPN’s Friday Night Fights was pulling in before it was cancelled after years, according to Dan Rafael.

The Thurman-Collazo fight didn’t bring in the viewers that was expected to, but it wasn’t a great product to begin with. When you put together a fight between a champion and an aging 34-year-old 2nd fighter like Collazo, you’re asking for trouble.

What makes things worse is Collazo was badly beaten just a year ago by Amir Khan by a 12 round decision. In hindsight, the Thurman vs. Collazo fight should have been made. It would have been a good fight in 2010, before Thurman was the WBA welterweight champion. But now that he’s a world champion, he needs to be fighting actual contenders, not non-top 15 ranked fighters who have seen better days. There weren’t enough hardcore fans who were familiar with Collazo to make the Thurman-Collazo fight a success.

Final number are in for Sat’s PBC [Premier Boxing Champions] on ESPN Thurman-Collazo fight. It peaked at 1.1 million viewers, falling a little short of expectations,” Rafael said on his Twitter. “Even though Thurman-Collazo was a little shy of expectations it still more than tripled the average audience of a typical FNF card. #boxing.”

Thurman’s adviser Al Haymon needs to step it up already with him. If he doesn’t have the talent to face the best fighters in the welterweight division, then he needs to give up the WBA title, and get out of the way so that someone can take over who isn’t hesitant about facing the best. Thurman already turned down a fight against Errol Spence Jr. (17-0, 14 KOs) for September, despite him arguably being the next best fighter in the division after Floyd Mayweather Jr. In Thurman’s last three fights, he’s beaten Collazo, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero and Leonard Bundu. Thurman looked poor in each of the fights. Thurman needs to be fighting Spence, Marcos Maidana, Shawn Porter, Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan, Kell Brook and Tim Bradley. Thurman isn’t fighting the right guys, and it’s unclear when he’ll actually start fighting the right fighters. He wants a fight against Mayweather now, but he’s severely hampered by his poor resume of fights. How can you ask for the best when you’ve been facing guys like Collazo and Guerrero, and not looking good against them?

Thurman seems like someone who is going to be a long term project. He’s more of a flawed contender than a champion right now. Thurman has a lot of rough edges that need to be rounded out before he can become a good fighter in the future. But with the way he runs around the ring right now, he’s not going to become a popular pay-per-view fighter until his trainer, or a new trainer, teaches him that he can’t fight like this if he wants to be a star. There are already a lot of boxing fans calling Thurman “Run Time” rather than by his nickname “One Time.” It’s become a terrible joke, and he doesn’t get it that he can’t fight like that and become a fan-friendly fighter. Thurman is more like the second coming of Erislandy Lara than the next Mayweather. Unless Thurman wants to see his ratings drop over time, he needs to change his fighting style as soon as possible to become a more exciting fighter. He’s not going anywhere by being a big talker, who promises exciting fights, but then runs around the ring to avoid getting hit all night long.

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