INSIDE THE RING: San Antonio’s World Champ Ready For Alamodome Fight Night

Mario Barrios returns home for title defense

Alamodome marquee set for Showtime Boxing on Halloween night. (Adam Higgins, Copyright 2020 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – Towards the end of 2019, no one could have predicted that the Alamodome could host two major boxing events this year. First, Mexico’s rising star Jaime Munguia crushed Gary O’Sullivan in January, which was the first big boxing event of 2020. Now, on Halloween night, Gervonta Davis and Leo Santa Cruz prepare to clash in less than a week.

Premier Boxing Champions and Showtime Sports will bring a four-fight pay-per-view event to the Alamo City that will feature fans in attendance for the first time in the United States since the coronavirus outbreak spread throughout the country.

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Saturday’s co-main event will feature San Antonio’s own Mario Barrios. “El Azteca” (25-0, 16 KOs) will defend his WBA World Super Lightweight championship belt against fellow Texan and friend Ryan Karl (18-2, 12 KOs).

“I’m feeling good, camp has been good, all the work is done now and it’s all about weight control at this point,” said Barrios to KSAT 12 Sports Friday afternoon. “This fight has been a long time in the making, I’m excited to get back in the ring and give the fans a great fight.”

Barrios won his latest title back on September 28 of last year when he won by unanimous decision over Batyr Akhmedov. Since then, there were talks of a rematch, which never panned out during the spring. The Southwest High School alum also had this fight with Karl rescheduled before.

“We know each other very well and we’ve been good friends for a very long time,” said Barrios about Karl. “We’ve never shared the ring ever, even with sparring. I know the style he brings, it’s very action packed, he likes to stay busy. If there’s a time where Ryan’s hurt or I manage to even drop him in this fight, I know he’s going to get up and keep fighting. That’s the type of fighter he is and I’m the same way. At the end of the day, both of us are warriors in that ring.”

California Love

There are a lot of differences for a young athlete when you go from South Texas to the San Francisco Bay area. Besides the temperature and cool breeze from the Pacific Ocean, you have the rolling hills throughout the city.

That’s just perfect for anyone who loves to skateboard.

Barrios posts on his Instagram from time to time adventures of him and his friends skateboarding in the Golden State. It’s not just a hobby but something to help him relax from the grueling schedule and training of a professional boxer.

“Any time I travel outside of San Antonio, I have one of my boards with me,” Barrios said. “That’s one of my favorite things to do, with any other city I travel to. I want to see as much of the city as I can. In the Bay Area, there’s a lot of water, a lot of hills and a lot of green. It’s beautiful and something I really enjoy. In my off time, when I’m not in the gym, when it’s one of my off days, that’s my ‘me time’."

Although he does enjoy his current surroundings, the undefeated fighter added, “I don’t picture myself living anywhere else other than San Antonio. I love getting out, seeing other places but there’s no other place like home.”

A unique fight week

What makes any fight week is the presence of fans. From the open workouts, to the press conferences and weigh-in, fans really get involved with everything and everyone that brings boxing together.

But until the actual fight, fans will be absent from these events. Fans will not be allowed at this week’s press conferences and Friday’s weigh-in due coronavirus concerns.

What has made boxing successful in the age of COVID-19 has been the strict rules in the “boxing bubble” at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, similar to that of the NBA bubble in Orlando. The same rules will apply for fighters, personnel and media this week in downtown San Antonio. As the boxing world arrives to the bubble, everyone will be tested and have to stay there until Saturday’s fight night. Anyone that leaves will have to be retested before entering again.

The undercard press conference, which includes Barrios, can be viewed Wednesday beginning at 1 p.m. through the Showtime Sports YouTube channel. Thursday will be the main event press conference for Gervonta Davis and Leo Santa Cruz starting at noon. The weigh-in can be viewed the same way on Friday beginning at noon.

Tickets are still available through or at the Alamodome box office. According to the Alamodome events staff, 11,000 fans will be allowed inside for the fights. All guests will have their temperature checked prior to entry, face coverings will be required that cover both the nose and mouth and all suites in the Alamodome will be limited to fifty percent capacity. Tickets will be distributed in seat blocks known as “pods” to maintain distance between groups not from the same party.

For those staying home to watch the fights, the pay-per-view event will cost $74.99.

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

About the Author

Daniel P. Villanueva has been with KSAT 12 since 2003 and is the producer of our weekly sports show, "Instant Replay." Villanueva is a graduate of St. Mary's University and is a TAPB and Lone Star Emmy award winner.

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