ATLANTA – It took two press conferences, two episodes of Showtime’s “All Access” and numerous individual interviews for Mario Barrios to say something provocative related to his pay-per-view fight against Gervonta Davis.
After listening to Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe and Davis speak Thursday, Barrios delivered a message to them toward the end of a press conference at the Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center.
“Like Leonard Ellerbe said, you know, they have big plans for him,” Barrios said. “And I fully intend, you know, on f------ up those plans come Saturday.”
Barrios’ role in Mayweather Promotions’ plans for the left-handed knockout artist is that of an undefeated but beatable 140-pound champion who will enable Davis to officially become a world champion in a third weight class. Barrios (26-0, 17 KOs) is a decided underdog entering their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event Saturday night at State Farm Arena, despite that the San Antonio native will enjoy a significant size advantage over Davis (24-0, 23 KOs) in Davis’ debut at the 140-pound limit.
The 26-year-old Barrios is nearly five inches taller than Davis, who has jumped up two weight classes from his previous fight – a sixth-round knockout of Leo Santa Cruz (37-2-1, 19 KOs) in their WBA 130-pound championship match October 31 at Alamodome in San Antonio.
“When I fight bigger guys, I always like,” Davis said, “in the gym, you know, I always, always, you know, show up for them big guys because I hate when people think that, you know, I’m small, so they try to take advantage of me. So, this is definitely probably one of them fights that, you know, be one of them ones that you’ll see the best of Gervonta Davis.”
Davis also admitted Thursday that he has drawn extra motivation from the words of Don Ames, Barrios’ assistant trainer and cut man. Ames recently stated during a video released on former champion Andre Berto’s Instagram page that Barrios will “bust [Davis’] head to the white meat.”
Barrios addressed Ames’ comment during the press conference.
“He’s an Oakland OG,” said Barrios, who is trained by Virgil Hunter in Oakland. “You know, he has his way of talking. You know, that’s just him in the gym, you know, just hyping everything. But at the end of the day, I mean, I’m responsible for everything I say. You know, I’m always true to my word. And, you know, the only thing I’m gonna say is, man, come Saturday, it’s gonna be a very exciting fight.”
Davis and Barrios will headline Showtime’s four-fight pay-per-view event at the home arena of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. The pay-per-view portion of the card will begin at 9 p.m. EDT and costs $74.99.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.