Many questions surrounded Keith Thurman as his inactivity was too much to ignore. The first round was predictable as the inactive fighter and the one moving up in weight were both feeling each other out for one reason or the other. Thurman was moving well and utilizing his jab while Barrios was doing the same but trying to figure out spacing.
Going into the second round, the savvy veteran Thurman started utilizing his feints to land the big left hook effectively. He was successful in several spots while Barrios was flicking the showy left jab to land the straight right hand, which he did towards the end of the round.
Business started to pick up more in round three, and Thurman settled in. Keith landed a big left hook to the head that stunned Barrios and made him quickly shell up his defense. As we went into round four, Thurman again stunned Barrios with a left hook to the head, and everyone started to think that this may be the beginning of the end for Barrios.
Round five came around and Thurman continued to dominate using his legs and quick counter-punching abilities. Barrios felt he was down on the cards as we moved into round six, so he picked up the pace. Barrios started to concentrate on Thurman's body, which bothered him. But at the end of the round, Thurman landed a left up-jab that pushed Barrios' head back.
Round seven was much of the same as Thurman was dominating, and in the eighth round, Keith landed a straight right hand that made Barrios' leg move back and shook him up. As Thurman went in to finish him, Barrios landed a left hook to the body that hurt him and made Thurman spit his mouthpiece out.
We saw Keith Thurman use speed, distance, and accuracy to run away with the fight from the ninth round to the end of the fight earning him the decision victory.
Leo Santa Cruz earns unanimous decision victory
It was the comeback fight for Leo Santa Cruz (38-2-1), and although he is going to campaign at featherweight, this one against Keenan Carbajal (23-3-1) was at super-featherweight. In the first round, both fighters came out swinging, and the feeling was that we were in for an all-action fight. During the second round, Carbajal headbutted Santa Cruz, which caused a cut over his right eye. After that headbutt, there was another on the same eye in round four.
The fight lacked the sizzle you would expect from a co-main event, and it went all ten rounds. The judges saw this one exactly like everyone else as all three scored it 100-90 for Leo Santa Cruz. After the fight, Santa Cruz said, “We're going to go back to the gym, get better and work on what we did wrong. We want to unify and defend our title. We want all the champions at 126 pounds.”
Jesus Ramos Jr. impresses with a TKO victory.
This fight was an actual test for the young Jesus Ramos Jr (18-0) as it was time to see if he was truly ready for the next step, and boy, did he ever step up. Vladimir Hernandez (13-5) is one tough cookie, and he was bringing the pressure early in the fight with almost a hundred punches a round. Ramos Jr. landed a hard right hook in round three that temporarily froze Hernandez, but he quickly recovered. Ramos Jr. was using good defense smooth, subtle movements to leverage his punches and showed how much dog he had in him throughout the fight. In round six, Ramos Jr. landed a huge left hook that rocked Hernandez, followed by a straight left hand. After a barrage of punches, the referee stepped in and stopped the fight. Jesus Ramos Jr. earns a six-round TKO but, more importantly, has announced his presence in the super welterweight division.
After the fight, Jesus Ramos Jr. had this to say: “We took Brian Mendoza in our last fight and now Vladimir Hernandez. Those are big names in this weight class. We want to build our resume like Floyd Mayweather did. He had Gatti, Corrales, Castillo, and all the guys. That's something you can't take away from him, and that's what I want to do. I want to earn my reputation. I'm not here to have Instagram followers. I'm here to make a statement in boxing.”
Luis Nery squeezes out a split decision.
The opening bout between Luis Nery (32-1) & Carlos Castro (27-1) started with a bang in the first round as Nery landed a straight left hand which sent Castro to the canvas for a knockdown. In the early rounds, Nery was smart, moving to Castro's right to land his left hooks and uppercuts. Nery was fading quite a bit in the middle rounds, and Castro started to come on. Towards the end of round seven, Nery landed a seventeen-punch combination that won him that round. But more importantly, Nery regained the momentum he lost, and he used that to finish the fight. The judges saw this one as a real close fight scoring it 95-94 (Castro), 95-94 (Nery), and 96-93 (Nery) for Luis Nery, who looks to be on a collision course against unified champion Stephen Fulton Jr.
My Three Cents
Keith Thurman had a good night against a fighter that he probably should have knocked out rather than earn a decision victory. He now is mandatory for the WBC title, but while he waits, there's always a fight with WBO champion Terrence Crawford to be made if Thurman truly wants to stay busy this year.
One thing is for sure, this version of Thurman is still good enough to earn some victories, but I don't see him being able to compete with the likes of Spence or Crawford. Where he goes from here will be interesting, so until then, let's hope it's not one time for 1 time in 2022.