Mario Barrios didn’t know what to expect beyond fight night when sharing a card with Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis last Halloween.
Even in the months that passed, the thought of facing the fast-rising star never really crossed his mind until he got the phone call from his team.
“I was pretty surprised to hear his name brought up,” Barrios told BoxingScene.com.
Davis (24-0, 23KOs) saw his own name mentioned with the top lightweights, though quickly realizing that a fight with any of them wasn’t going to materialize anytime soon. From there came the decision to move up two weight division, where the reigning WBA junior lightweight titlist will challenge for Barrios’ secondary version of the WBA 140-pound crown. The bout takes place June 26, live on Showtime Pay-Per-View from State Farm Arena in Atlanta, with a press conference held on site Thursday.
“It’s a huge opportunity for me,” notes Barrios. “No matter how anyone feels about Tank, the fact is he’s one of the biggest names in the sport.
This is a huge fight, a huge event for me. But a fight that’s going to skyrocket my career.”
It will come eight months after both posted knockout wins last October at Alamodome in Barrios’ hometown of San Antonio, Texas. Davis enjoyed a viral moment when a left uppercut flattened the previously unbeaten Leo Santa Cruz near the end of the 6th round in the evening’s headliner.
Barrios gave his local fans a thrill as well, stopping Houston’s Ryan Karl in the 6th round an entertaining scrap on the undercard. The bout was his second straight on the preliminary portion of a PPV event, as he moves up to headliner on the medium for the first time in his eight-year pro career.
“This is a huge opportunity,” said Barrios. “Seeing my name about to headline a Showtime PPV, that’s a dream come true. It’s something I thought and dreamed about as a kid and now it’s here.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox