By Dan Ambrose: Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs) dominated the well-vetted former WBA secondary light welterweight champion Mario Barrios (26-2, 17 KOs) in winning a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision in his comeback bout at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 33-year-old Thurman looked pretty good for a fighter that hadn’t seen action in 2 1/2 years, but he had the perfect guy for him to shine against. Barrios, a former 140-pounder, lacked the power to take advantage of the ring rust and age of ‘One Time’ Thurman.
In the early rounds, Thurman looked impressive, countering Barrios and making him pay for his aggression. The scores were 117-111, 118-110, and 118-110. Boxing News 24 scored it 117-111 for Thurman.
On the negative side, Thurman gassed out in the championship rounds and looked REALLY old, much older than his 33 years.
Tonight, Thurman didn’t have to worry because Barrios had no power and he was very basic, but against one of the many talented welterweights, he would have seen Keith tasting defeat again.
It’s fair to say that Thurman’s management at Premier Boxing Champions will keep him far, far away from these contenders: Vergil Ortiz Jr, Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis, Conor Benn, David Avanesyan, and Rashedi Ellis.
What PBC is likely going to do is try and get an immediate cash-out title shot for Thurman against the winner of the Errol Spence Jr. vs. Yordenis Ugas fight or Terence Crawford. The way Thurman looked tonight, he’s not going to beat any of those fighters. No way.
- Fighting for the first time since his loss to Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, former four-division world champion Leo Santa Cruz (38-2, 19 KOs) dominated his little-known tune-up opponent Keenan Carbajal (23-3-1, 15 KOs) winning a 10 round unanimous decision. The scores were 100-90, 100-90, and 100-90. The 32-year-old Santa Cruz appeared to be briefly hurt in the ninth round. He was also cut over his right eye from a clash of heads. We’ll see how well Santa Cruz does in his next fight when he potentially takes on WBA ‘regular ‘featherweight champion Leigh Wood.
- Junior middleweight Jesus Ramos (18-0, 15 KOs) kept his unbeaten record intact with a sixth round stoppage victory over Vladimir Hernandez (13-5, 6 KOs). Ramos unloaded with a flurry of shots in the sixth to get the stoppage. The official time of the fight was halted at 2:21 of the sixth.
- Former two-division world champion Luis ‘Pantera’ Nery (32-1, 24 KOs) edged Carlos Castro (27-1, 12 KOs) by a 12 round split decision. The scores were 96-93, 95-94 for Nery, and 95-94 for Castrol. In the first round, Neryd dropped Castro. However, from that point on, Castro fought well, boxing Nery and taking advantage of his low punch output.
- Welterweight replacement opponent Luke Santamaria (12-2-1, 7 KOs) defeated contender Abel Ramos (27-5-2, 21 KOs) by a 10 round unanimous decision. The scores were 96-94, 96-94, and 98-92. Boxing News 24 scored it 97-93 for Ramos, but oh well. Santamaria was hurt in the first round after Ramos connected with a big right hand. Josesito Lopez was originally scheduled to face Ramos, but he had to pull out due to an injury.
- Light welterweight Omar Juarez (13-1, 5 KOs) defeated the PBC house fighter Ryan Karl (19-4, 12 KOs) by a 10 round split decision. Karl was forced to fight with a badly cut-up face from a clash of heads. The scores were 95-94, 96-93 for Juarez, and 95-94 for Karl.
- Undefeated light welterweight Eniko Gogokhia (13-0-1, 8 KOs) and Ken Cruz (16-0-1, 10 KOs) fought to an eight round split draw. The scores were 76-74 for Gogokhia, 76-74 for Cruz, and 75-75. In the fifth, Cruz was knocked down twice.
- In middleweight action, unbeaten prospect Fernando Vargas Jr. (5-0, 5 KOs) scored his fifth knockout with s stoppage of Kody Koboski (2-1, 2 KOs) in the third round. Koboski was down in the first round.