By Cliff Rold
EagleBank Arena, Fairfax - Promising 23-year old welterweight Jr. welterweight Mario Barrios (24-0, 16 KO), 143, of San Antonio, Texas, came into the weekend as the number one contender in the WBA ratings at 140 lbs.
He kept that position and raised his profile on national television with a sensational second round knockout of 32-year old Juan Jose Velasco (20-2, 12 KO), 143, of Argentina.
The referee was Wayne Spinola.
Barrios could almost be credited with a one-punch knockout. Two punches may have landed but it was a left hand to the body that spelled the end of the night for Velasco. Barrios landed a right to the face right behind the body shot and the reaction of Velasco told the tale as he winced in agony, reaching to his side and collapsing onto all fours, counted out at 1:16 of round two.
The current WBA titlist at 140 lbs. is Regis Prograis, who won the title on April 27th with a sixth round stoppage of Kiryl Relikh.
"I want a world title shot. I am always in the gym. I am always ready. I want all the smoke at 140. I want any of the champions.” As to his performance, Barrios said, “I was very confident. I had a great camp. I can't thank (trainer) Virgil Hunter and the team for the preparation for this fight. We knew he was vulnerable with body punches and that was something I work on regardless. It is one of my favorite shots. I have been working on it since the amateurs."
“We weren't expecting it to end that quickly. I wasn't predicting a knock out, but I knew I had the power to do it and stop him."