SAN ANTONIO – It's not easy to fill the shoes of the legendary "Jesse" James Leija but one local fighter continues to make waves as he travels down that path.
Undefeated boxer Mario Barrios is ready to showcase his talents live Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Barrios will face Jose Roman in a 10-round junior welterweight bout as Showtime opens up its fight night telecast.
Barrios is not only looking to extend his knockout streak to six but he's also fighting for his first-ever title belt. Should Barrios (21-0-0, 13 KOs) defeat Roman (24-2-1, 16 KOs), he will win the WBA Intercontinental title.
"A win Saturday is another win for San Antonio," said Barrios Wednesday afternoon. "That means I'll be able to bring a regional title back to San Antonio with a world title in the horizon."
California is a second home for Barrios, especially when it comes to working with trainer Virgil Hunter. It's a plus not having to travel far to what is quite possibly the biggest fight in his career. So far, Barrios is not letting the pressure get to him.
"I'm not nervous about fighting on Showtime at all. This has always been a dream for me and it's turning into a reality. Being on this undercard is a huge opportunity to showcase my talents," Barrios said.
Saturday's feature will look familiar to local boxing fans. Mikey Garcia (38-0-0, 30 KOs) is coming off his most recent victory at the Freeman Coliseum back in March. Garcia faces Robert Easter Jr. (21-0-0, 14 KOs) for the unification of the IFB and WBC World Lightweight titles.
"The main event is going to be sensational but I'm going out on Saturday to steal the show," said Barrios.
Barrios, a graduate of Southwest High School, is scheduled to enter the ring Saturday at 9 p.m. CST.
He can be found on Twitter at: @Boxer_Barrios.