Keith Thurman and Robert Guerrero gave a much-needed boost to boxing with a superb show in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

In the first prime-time top-of-the-bill fight on NBC in 30 years, and the debut of a new boxing series on network television, the two welterweights had the spectators on their feet until Thurman won on points.

"That's the kind of performance that wins the hearts of fans even when you don't win the fight," Guerrero said. "The fans love that and that's what boxing is all about."

The fight was the highlight of a card that included a win by Adrien Broner over John Molina in a super-lightweight bout.

Thurman took apart Guerrero in a fight that had a little bit of something for every fan, except a knockout.

"I know I was hurting him each and every round," Thurman said. "But he's a veteran and knew how to pace himself and stay a little out of my range."

Thurman knocked Guerrero down in the ninth round and won easily on all scorecards to capture the WBA version of the title. But Guerrero fought hard and wasn't afraid to trade punches even while bleeding from a cut over his left eye late in the bout.

Thurman landed 211 of 598 punches to 104 of 497 for Guerrero, but that didn't tell the whole story.

The champion’s punches were much harder and seemed to shake Guerrero on several occasions. But they did not deter him from pressing the fight even after being knocked down and nearly knocked out in the ninth round.

"Now I know why they call him One Time. He does punch really hard. He has power. I keep fighting my heart out and that's what the fans like about me," Guerrero said.

Thurman won every round on one scorecard and 10 rounds on the other two, using thudding punches to keep Guerrero away.

Still, he was never able to put him away and Guerrero came back in the tenth round to land some big punches of his own while Thurman was on the ropes.

"Robert Guerrero was a tremendous warrior," Thurman said. "He was there the whole way."