By: Sean Crose
Although it will be his first fight at welterweight, the 26-1 Mario Barrios has chosen to jump right into the fire by facing the highly talented former titlist Keith Thurman, 29-1. “I believe we’re going to shock the world February fifth,” he told Fight Hub’s Marcos Villegas in the leadup to this Saturday’s throwdown with Thurman. When asked about the argument that Thurman’s skills have deteriorated – in large part due to a lack of activity – Barrios was to the point. “Boxing fans are some of the worst fans sometimes,” he said. “They’re quick to build a fighter up and then the next day tear them down.”
Thurman, Barrios said, “has the skill set. He has the power. He has the confidence in himself, which makes him a dangerous fighter at all times.” Although Thurman was last seen losing to Manny Pacquiao over two years ago, Barrios made it clear he wants to take a broader view of things. “Me and my team, we look at the full body of work,” he said. “The way that he (Thurman) fought Pacquiao, the way that he fought Lopez, it’s not going to be the way he fights me.”
Barrios’ last fight saw him get stopped by Gervonta Davis in the eleventh round. That was a tough pill for the twenty-six year old to swallow, especially when one considers the fact that he was seen as winning the bout at the time of the stoppage. Fortunately for Barrios, those closest to him helped him pull through the experience of tasting his first defeat. “I have a good circle around me…that helped keep me up,” he said. “For the first week after the fight I was dwelling on it a lot.” Now, however, the Texan is able to try to turn the lemons of the past into lemonade. “I learned a lot,” he said, reflecting on the loss to Davis. “We were able to take away a lot from that fight.”
With the past behind him, Barrios went on to indicate that Saturday’s fight between himself and Thurman won’t be lacking in the action department. “I think given mine and Keith’s style, it’s hard to see this fight going the full distance,” he claimed. “I know Keith is coming hungry. He has a point to prove – but so do I.” The Thurman-Barrios card will be broadcast live on PBC and Fox Sports pay per view from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas this Saturday starting at 9 PM eastern time.
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