SAN FRANCISCO, CA. – San Antonio’s world champ is coming home to defend his world title.
According to an article published Wednesday night in The Athletic, and confirmed by Mario Barrios' camp, the Southwest High School grad will fight for the first time in his professional career in the Alamodome on Saturday, October 31.
The fight will be a Premier Boxing Champions/Showtime pay-per-view event. Although the pay-per-view price has not be released, last Saturday’s PBC/Showtime PPV event cost $74.95.
Barrios has fought in San Antonio four times but never in the Alamodome and never as a defending world champion.
“I’m very excited for my first title defense to be back home at the Alamodome,” Barrios said to KSAT 12 Sports Thursday. “Last fight I had (in San Antonio) was a sensational turnout and I know October 31st will be no different. I’m looking forward to giving my city an action packed fight.”
According to the report, fans will be allowed to attend the Halloween bouts, which would be the first time boxing fans would be present for live fights since the coronavirus outbreak began in the United States.
Headlining the fight will be the undefeated Gervonta Davis and Leo Santa Cruz, which was originally scheduled for October 24 in Connecticut. Leo Santa Cruz has fought in San Antonio before in 2013.
After repeated attempts today, there has yet to be any official word from Showtime or the Alamodome about this upcoming event.
It’s almost been one full year since Mario Barrios fought in a ring before fans and television cameras showcasing his talent in primetime. He enter the ring determined to win a championship belt. By the end of the night, he was San Antonio’s new world champ.
Now, after patiently waiting throughout the coronavirus outbreak for a chance to defend his title, Barrios is being forced to wait even longer. '
Last week “El Azteca" was informed that his scheduled pay-per-view fight for September 26 was being moved to October.
“I’m not sure why it was moved but its not something out of the ordinary,” Barrios told KSAT 12 Sports late last week. “I miss being in the ring; it’s the most inactive I’ve been since I turned pro.”
The Team Barrios camp in the San Francisco Bay Area will now slow down a bit before resuming the fight night preparation. Barrios (25-0, 16 KOs) will still defend his WBA World Super Lightweight championship belt against fellow Texans Ryan Karl (23-5, 12 KOs). Although nothing has been announced officially, sources say that Barrios will still fight on a Premier Boxing Championships/Showtime PPV card in late October.
The work behind the scenes through much of this year had been for a rematch between Barrios and Batyr Akhmedov, the super lightweight from Uzbekistan who Barrios defeated last September.
“We wanted the rematch right away but both of our camps agreed that we should have a in between fight then schedule a rematch,” said Barrios. “I’ve known Ryan since we were young amateurs. I know this is his biggest opportunity. I’m prepared to face the best Ryan Karl that I’ve ever seen.”
When it’s time to fight, Barrios prepares with Virgil Hunter near San Francisco, California. When COVID-19 spread quickly in the state earlier this year, Barrios returned to San Antonio as the sports world came to a halt.
However, as Barrios prepared for his scheduled September fight, wildfires began to breakout throughout California.
“It felt like quarantine all over again,” Barrios explained. “When I arrived back here two weeks ago, I went running and I looked across and two of the hills were on fire. All the fire department was rushing over there. They had everyone that was in the park leave. It was pretty crazy. I went back a few days after that and it burned quite a bit in a real short amount of time. It’s pretty bad out here.”
“It caught me by surprise, especially when I woke up and they said the Bay Area was orange,” added Barrios. “I never experienced something like that before. I woke up in the morning and literally everything was an orange tint. When I went to look outside, it was real dark. It was weird. It felt real eerie at first. It stayed like that for like two days. I didn’t know how to react, I had to watch the news to make sure everything is okay.”
INSIDE THE RING: San Antonio's world champ @Boxer_Barrios talks about his fight being moved, his sister Selina Barrios and what it's been like surrounded by the #CaliforniaFires. #KSATsports #boxing #boxeo— KSAT 12 Sports (@InstantReplaySA) September 21, 2020
STORY: https://t.co/fuKdEc235W pic.twitter.com/w1IwZ3gHvs
SELINA BARRIOS TAKES PRIORITIES
Out of all the major sports in the United States, boxers were among the first to see competition in the COVID-19 pandemic. But not all fighters have been given the chance to fight again. Some have taken a step back for health reasons; some have failed to find quality opponents and some cannot fight in their area of the country.
For others, they have taken a step back to focus on family.
That’s what professional boxer Selina Barrios has done. Instead of fighting in the ring, she has chosen to be by her daughter’s side helping her with virtual learning.
“When I was back home, I was asking her how all that was going‚” said Barrios. “My sister was explaining it to me and I was like, ‘that’s way too much work'. Being a parent is hard right now, and that being added on to it, it’s crazy times.”
“I give credit to all parents who are there for their kids especially with schooling during this time," Barrios concluded. "And to the teachers most of all.”
Daniel P. Villanueva has worked with KSAT 12 Sports for over 17 years and is an award-winning sports producer. To submit story ideas, email email@example.com