INSIDE THE RING: Barrios and Thurman meet in Las Vegas

San Antonio’s Mario Barrios met face-to-face with Keith Thurman before their PPV fight on Saturday.

Mario Barrios meets Keith Thurman during their press conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday, February 2, 2022. (Ryan Hafey, Ryan Hafey)

LAS VEGAS – On Wednesday, the boxers headlining the Premier Boxing Champions latest pay-per-view fight met face-to-face for the first time since their bout was announced back in January.

San Antonio’s Mario “El Azteca” Barrios and Keith “One Time” Thurman addressed the media at the Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, the site of Saturday’s 12-round welterweight fight. The press conference aired live across the nation on FS1.

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Barrios fought on the undercard of the very first PBC broadcast back in 2015, which was headlined by Thurman.

“It’s a dream come true for me,” Barrios said. “If you had told me that day, when I fought on the undercard, that seven years later I would be fighting Keith Thurman himself, I probably wouldn’t believe you. But I stayed patient, I stayed focused, I stayed disciplined. Now, I have my opportunity to make my name in the welterweight division.”

Barrios (26-1, 17 KOs) is moving up to fight at 147 pounds for the first time in his career and will be making his welterweight debut.

“I’m in this sport to fight the best,” said Barrios. “There’s never been a name I have turned down. I want to continue to test my abilities and prove to everybody that I belong. That’s exactly why we chose to take such a difficult fight for my first fight at welterweight.”

Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs), always able to hype up a fight, talked about what he took away from meeting Barrios for the first time this afternoon during their first face off.

“I have a great challenger stepping into the ring, he’s a young man, he’s a capable man, I just told him he’s a big-little dude,” said Thurman. “He’s standing over me, he’s moving up in weight class, he’s got his broad shoulders. With Covid and everything, we haven’t been able to size each other up so that was a fun five second experience.”

Thurman added, “I’m excited about the fight. I have someone that wants to fight, that wants to trade. He wants to make a name overnight. Mario Barrios wants to be a world class name fighter and I respect that. But I’m here to stop him in his tracks and that’s what Saturday night is all about.”

Barrios later responded, “He can box, he can bang, he has good movement. During camp we had to get ready for every style possible because we know he can do it all but we have the potential to bring the best out of each other. This is going to be a hell of a night of boxing and this is definitely a fight you don’t want to miss out on.”

Saturday’s PBC PPV bout will cost $74.95. Friday’s weigh-in will air on FS1 at 4 p.m. central time.

Daniel P. Villanueva has worked with KSAT 12 for over 18 years and is an award-winning 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.