SAN ANTONIO – This week, the top names in boxing will arrive in the Alamo City.
The fighters appearing in the Premier Boxing Champions/Showtime fight card arrived the last two days, entering the “boxing bubble” at the Marriott Rivercenter, where they will stay until Saturday’s bouts in the Alamodome.
San Antonio’s Mario Barrios will be featured in the co-main event on pay-per-view. “El Azteca” (25-0, 16 KOs) will defend his WBA World Super Lightweight championship belt against Ryan “Cowboy” Karl (18-2, 12 KOs) who is fighting out of Houston. This afternoon, fighters featured on the undercard met the media for the final time before Friday’s weigh-in.
“I’m super excited to be back home for my first title defense," said Barrios, as he sat center stage during the press conference. “Come Saturday night, it’s going to be an explosive night of boxing throughout this whole card. I’m trying to steal the show in the co-main event.”
“You’re going to see a great fight on Saturday,” added Karl, who is trained by Ronnie Shields. “We are going to steal the show, because I’ve come prepared. I’m at my very best and it’s going to make me victorious. We put the work in. I’m going to seize this opportunity now that I have it.”
Barrios and Karl have been friends for years, going back to their amateur fighting days. Although they know each other, they have never met inside the ring, even for sparring, so Saturday’s fight brings a lot of unfamiliarity. Karl is riding a three fight knockout streak while Barrios has not fought since winning his championship belt, which was over a year ago.
“I don’t feel any pressure,” explained Barrios. “I’m fighting at home and defending my title, so it’s just a dream come true. You have an Aztec warrior and a Texas cowboy going at it. I couldn’t imagine a better co-main event.”
Saturday is fight night in the Alamodome! Hear from Mario Barrios, Gervonta Davis and Leo Santa Cruz leading up to the Halloween night fights!— KSAT 12 Sports (@InstantReplaySA) October 30, 2020
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Barrios received mixed reactions from the crowd when he won his title belt on September 28 of last year. “El Azteca” won by unanimous decision over Batyr Akhmedov, ending an eight fight knockout streak for Barrios. It was also one of the few times in recent years that Barrios was forced to go the distance.
“You’re going to see a completely different fighter on Saturday night," said Barrios. "My last fight I showed the warrior that I am, and during the championship rounds, I made big things happen. Saturday night, I’m going to show everyone how I’ve improved.”
Karl is three years older than Barrios and has never fought for a belt in his professional career. Karl emphasized that he’s never felt better physically or better prepared going into a fight. He hopes to show that off on Saturday.
“I come to fight, I’m rough and ready and I’m coming to win any way possible," said Karl. "It doesn’t matter to me. I’ve never been in a boring fight. Win, lose or draw, you’ll always get your money’s worth.”
The cost of the Showtime pay-per-view fight is $74.99.
Saturday’s fight night will be the first in the nation to have fans present since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. Almost all of the boxing matches that have been held since June have been in Las Vegas, Nevada and fans have not been allowed inside for the live matches. Tickets are still available and can be purchased through TicketMaster.com or the Alamodome Box Office.
The main event press conference for Gervonta Davis and Leo Santa Cruz will begin at noon Thursday and can be viewed live on the Showtime Sports YouTube channel. The weigh-in can be viewed the same way on Friday beginning at noon.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org