Gervonta Davis vs. Mario Barrios: Young Greatness

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Two young, hard-hitting and undefeated champions will throw down when Gervonta "Tank" Davis and Mario "El Azteca" Barrios meet for Barrios' 140-pound world title Saturday night on SHOWTIME pay-per-view.

Undefeated 26-year-old Gervonta “Tank” Davis is burning with ambition and hungry to make his mark as a modern day great. He’s about to run into another unbeaten 26-year-old in Mario “El Azteca” Barrios who sees Davis as his own steppingstone to greatness. 

This Saturday, June 26, in a SHOWTIME PPV/Premier Boxing Champions main event (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT), live from State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Davis (24-0, 23 KOs) looks to become a five-time, three-division world titlist against defending WBA 140-pound world champ Barrios (26-0, 17 KOs).

On the pay-per-view undercard, Erickson “Hammer” Lubin faces former unified 154-pound champion Jeison Rosario in a WBC super welterweight title eliminator. Also, super welterweight contender Carlos Adames takes on Mexico’s Alexis Salazar in a 10-round showdown and hard-hitting Olympian Batyr Akhmedov goes up against former world champion Argenis Mendez in a 12-round WBA super lightweight title eliminator.

The Story

At 26 years of age, Gervonta Davis has already made his mark in boxing as an elite talent with growing recognition as one of the sport’s biggest draws. 

Saturday night he aims to add more to his still-growing resume. A victory would see the 130- and 135-pound champ simultaneously hold world titles in three different weight classes, a feat only accomplished in modern history by Henry Armstrong and Saul Alvarez.

From Davis’ humble beginning as a child, fighting his way through the foster care system in his native Baltimore, to some outside-the-ring mistakes in recent years, “Tank” has worked his way through tough times to become one of the most electrifying fighters in the game.

In his most recent bout, his first as a pay-per-view headliner, he stopped veteran multi-division world champ Leo Santa Cruz with a viral video-worthy KO of the Year uppercut. 

Mario Barrios worked his way from being a gangly, nearly 6-foot tall super bantamweight into one of the most well-regarded young fighters in boxing and a world champ in the super lightweight division. 

Under the guidance of trainer Virgil Hunter, the San Antonio native has become a well-rounded offensive machine, scoring nine stoppage victories in his last ten bouts. 

Last October, Barrios stopped “Cowboy” Ryan Karl in six rounds, making the first defense of his world title, on the Davis-Santa Cruz undercard. Prior to that, he decisioned accomplished Olympian Batyr Akhmedov to win the vacant WBA strap.

The Stakes

Directly at stake is Barrios’ WBA world super lightweight title. Both fighters, however, have much more on the line. 

For Davis, a win means one more accomplishment and one more step forward on his way to next-level stardom, following the path of mentor and promoter Floyd Mayweather.

For Barrios, beating Davis would earn him instant access to the recognition and paydays reserved for the sport’s elite.

The Matchup

A southpaw banger with one-punch KO power in both hands, Davis is also a quick, athletically gifted boxer and a maturing strategist in the ring.

What makes all the headlines, though, is his jarring two-fisted power and arsenal of offensive weaponry. Whether it’s a missile-like straight left hand, a sharp jab, or hooks, both upstairs and downstairs, "Tank" hits, hurts, and is extremely accurate with his offense.

On defense, Davis uses his quick reflexes and all-around speed to slip punches and roll with shots.

ā€œ You know whenever I fight, Iā€™m bringing something for the fans to enjoy. ā€ Undefeated Two-Division World Champion - Gervonta "Tank" Davis

Barrios is a lanky fighter and a smooth, quick combination puncher who fights well from both the outside and inside. He’s most effective when using his solid jab to set up a thudding right. His body work is strong as well and, probably, just as potent an offensive weapon as anything thrown upstairs. The left to the liver is a potential fight-ender at all times.

Although in possession of elite-level tools, Barrios can at times be inconsistent in his execution, something which affirms the reality that, despite how good he currently looks, he’s still growing and developing. 

Defensively, Barrios is technically sound with a high guard defense, although, again, occasional inconsistency can make him vulnerable at times.

The Words

Gervonta Davis

“No matter who’s in front of me, I just have to go through them. Where I’m from, a lot of people don’t make it out, so I’m doing something right. I’m always chasing greatness. I don’t know what Barrios will bring, but from my side, I’m bringing everything I’ve got. You know whenever I fight, I’m bringing something for the fans to enjoy.”

Mario Barrios

“I think Gervonta and his team might have bit off more than they could chew with this fight. ‘Tank’ is going to be in there with a full blown 140-pounder. He’s facing someone just as dangerous as he is, but two weight classes higher than what he’s used to seeing. This is the moment that I’ve been dreaming of since I was a kid...and I’m ready to seize this opportunity.”

The Breakdown

It might seem obvious that the taller, longer Barrios, who will have a nearly five-inch height and nearly four-inch reach advantage, would be best advised to keep the fight on the outside. At the same time, the shorter Davis, one assumes, would be better fighting on the inside. However, Barrios is a very good in-fighter while Davis, with his speed and athleticism, is very effective from the outside. So, consider textbook analysis null and void in this case.

Davis’ power and Barrios’ ability to withstand that power (or defend effectively against it) are crucial factors. There’s also the question of how well Davis can handle incoming fire from a quality offensive fighter like Barrios, who just happens be the largest opponent he’s faced to date. 

Stylistically, there’s some similarity between Barrios and Davis’ last opponent, Santa Cruz, who was able to land some big shots on Davis before getting stopped. Barrios’ keys to victory will be measured aggression, activity, and pushing “Tank” backwards. Look for him to work the jab and make use of the uppercut inside. 

Look for Davis to gauge Barrios’ timing and then take his shots at scoring yet another highlight reel knockout. Angles will be important for Davis, who could out-speed Barrios, but would be better off taking shots at the ideal distance and position. 

No matter who emerges victorious and moves on to greater stardom this Saturday, though, the fans will be guaranteed winners. This battle of 20-something warriors on a path to greatness will be an absolute blast.

For a closer look at Davis vs Barrios, check out our fight night page. 

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