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Haymon Earns Praise For Debut Of "Premier Boxing Champions" At MGM Garden

Haymon Earns Praise For Debut Of "Premier Boxing Champions" At MGM Garden

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Neither Thurman nor Guerrero had walk-out music playing before their bout
Saturday night's World Boxing Association welterweight title bout between Keith Thurman and Robert Guerrero drew a crowd of "10,106 at the MGM Grand Garden and a national TV audience that tuned in to NBC" for the debut of the "Premier Boxing Champions" series, according to Steve Carp of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. With network TV "controlling things, it was a different atmosphere than usual for a big fight card at the MGM." There "were no entourages accompanying the fighters to the ring" and there "was no walk-out music." There also were "no ring card girls between rounds." But there "was plenty of action, particularly in the main event" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 3/8). In Boston, Ron Borges wrote under the header, "Boxing Shines In Return To Network TV." Boxing manager Al Haymon "picked the right fighters for the inaugural main event," as Thurman and Guerrero "put on a 12-round pitched battle that left the crowd ... on its feet and roaring during the furious final moments and well after the final bell sounded, making it both an artistic and fistic success." By the end of an earlier bout, "a lopsided 12-round decision" for Adrien Broner over John Molina Jr., the crowd "was booing more lustily than either combatant was fighting." However, "warmup acts don’t matter if the headliners put on a show." Much "to the relief of Haymon and NBC’s executives, they did" (BOSTON HERALD, 3/8). In Las Vegas, Case Keefer wrote Thurman and Guerrero "battled in the type of action-packed fight that ... Haymon hopes to build his PBC brand around" (LASVEGASSUN.com, 3/7).

WHAT'S OLD IS NEW AGAIN? ESPN.com's Brett Okamoto wrote debuting the series "with an unstable Adrien Broner might have been a bad idea." While "dominant," Broner "wasn't particularly impressive -- or even interesting." If the "PBC" series could have "crafted the perfect postfight interview for its first televised bout, having Broner basically admit he fought a boring fight wouldn't have made the script." But the substance "was there, and Haymon & Co. know how to dress it up." This "was a polished product in the arena on Saturday, and it will only improve as a television product with more practice." It would seem to "carry appeal to a younger audience, which means a longer guaranteed lifespan." For an old sport, boxing "had tints of infancy in certain aspects this weekend" (ESPN.com, 3/8). USA TODAY's Martin Rogers wrote Haymon's plan to "increase the visibility of boxing and having leading young fighters performing regularly in front of a national audience can be no bad thing." However, he "may have wished he picked a different fight to get things started with," as the Broner-Molina fight was not "exhilarating entertainment" (USATODAY.com, 3/7).

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