BoxingFight Previews

Mario Barrios Gets Career-Defining Fight Against “Tank” Davis on PPV

For those unaware, last week, four-time world champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis stood across from the WBA Super Lightweight Champion, Mario “El Azteca” Barrios as they went face-to-face Thursday at a press conference to preview their SHOWTIME PPV main event taking place Saturday, June 26 State Farm Arena in Atlanta in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

It has been a long road coming, but Mario Barrios has made it to the coveted land of headlining a pay-per-view, one of the highest honors, any fighter can get.

Barrios’ career though has been anything, but normal, as the seemingly six-foot-tall Barrios turned professional at 122 lbs in 2013, in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas. Barrios would move up to 126 lbs in 2014, and then 130 in 2016, as his skinny frame against his tall body always seemed to overshadow his fights in and of itself. In 2016, Barrios changed trainers and started working with Virgil Hunter, who moved Barrios up to the super lightweight division, two divisions higher than his previous weight class.

Barrios would then go on an eight-fight knockout streak, looking as good as he had ever looked in his career, and early chatter, about his weight, was now gone for the conversation, as now pundits strictly spoke upon the talented Mexican-American’s skillsets in the ring.

“This is a huge opportunity for me. ‘Tank’ called me out. I know he’s trying to do something great, but this is a dangerous fight for him. It’s going to be an action-packed fight,” said Barrios. “We’ve never faced fighters like each other before. We’re going to see on June 26 if it’s the right move for him.”

Barrios, who is soft-spoken and sincere with every word he says, down to buying his family a house before he bought himself one, with his first major life-changing paycheck from the sport of boxing, sees this as the moment he needs to ascend to the top of the sport.

“They might be looking at my fight against Batyr Akhmedov closely,” said Barrios upon the fight he had to win a form of the WBA Super Lightweight World Title, also held by Josh Taylor. “But I think he has a totally different style and that this fight will be different than what they expect if they just watch that match. I don’t know what they see in me to want this fight, but none of it matters to me. All the questions are going to be answered on June 26.”

The challenger Gervonta “Tank” Davis has been a personality that the sport of boxing has been captured by. Davis, who fights like he is showing his opponents how hard his life has been by him giving them a guided tour of his own memory lane. “Tank” Davis feels like the closest thing to Mike Tyson, since Tyson, but in the lower weight classes.

“Camp has been great for me. We know that Barrios is a bigger guy and that he can punch. We’re working hard each day in the gym, because we’re going up against a big task on June 26,” said Davis. “I took this fight because I want to be great. All the other big names at lightweight had scheduled fights so I felt like I wanted to go out and beat the best fighter out there for me.”

The underlying tone being that Davis is at a point his career, where he doesn’t want to “just fight”, “Tank” Davis wants marquee bouts that can be on pay-per-view that earn him big paydays. With all the other lightweight fighters, such as Teofimo Lopez and Devin Haney contracted for bouts, and Ryan Garcia taking a leave from the sport, Barrios was the only name that seemed interesting enough to the fans to merit a pay-per-view.

“’Tank’ is jumping up two weight classes. He’s doing something a lot of great fighters have done. He even said it: this isn’t an easy fight for him,” said Barrios. “We’re ready to face the best version of ‘Tank’ that anyone has ever seen and it’s going to be war.”

This bout in short will be a forecast of “Tank” Davis next half of his career, as Haney and Teofimo, have moved forward with success, Davis’ win over Leo Santa Cruz, by violent KO, has been pushed to the background, as the fans want more from him, it feels. “Tank” was here before all of these fighters, yet gap between all of them in terms of star-power is closing.

Davis who has fought mostly at 130 lbs, but recently been in limbo at 135 lbs, will now move up two weight class from his last bout, a PPV fight against Santa Cruz, to 140 lbs for the first time in his career.

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle