Mario Barrios may have been written off by the bookmakers and most fight fans, but the unbeaten Texan feels primed to spring a significant upset against Gervonta Davis in Atlanta on Saturday night.
WBA Regular 140lbs belt holder Barrios is an 18/5 outsider despite significant advantages in height and reach against Baltimore’s Davis who is effectively moving up two divisions after weighing 129 ½ lbs for his brutal sixth round KO of Leo Santa Cruz last October.
The marketable Davis is used to the spotlight, but the increased scrutiny is new territory for Barrios (26-0, 17 KOs) who is keen to take full advantage on Showtime PPV in the US.
“This is all brand new, but I’m taking it all in and excited to be in Atlanta. I’m just excited to go out there on Saturday and give everybody a great fight,” said Barrios. “No doubt about it, ‘’Tank is by far the toughest test for another title defence and I’m going to do whatever it takes to be successful on Saturday. There’s going to be fireworks on Saturday,
“This is a huge opportunity and I’m very excited for this chance. This is a very winnable fight for me, regardless of what everyone has been saying. I’m just excited to be back in the ring and in Atlanta.
“I think it’s not going to be until we both get in the ring that people realise how much size I really have for 140 pounds. Somehow, he’s still the favourite although he’s the challenger in this fight. I just take that as more motivation for me. Height-wise, reach. Those are the major advantages. I’m just as dangerous as he is. And just as explosive and just as fast. And I will show that on fight night.
“I’ve seen him fight plenty of times. He’s a great fighter and he’s been very successful at the lower weight divisions against the smaller opponents. But this is a different fight for him. I didn’t take too much from the Leo Santa Cruz fight. I felt [Gervonta] fought him the way he did because he didn’t respect Santa Cruz’s power. But with our fight he’s going to have no choice and he’s not going to fight me the way he fought Santa Cruz. Whatever he does fight night, I’m going to have to adapt.
“I’ve been boxing just as long as he has and I have an excellent boxing IQ, just as he has. It only takes one punch to change a fight, and he definitely has that one punch. But I’ll find out if that power carries over to 140 pounds.”
Main image: Sean Michael Ham/Mayweather Promotions.