INSIDE THE RING: Barrios loses to Thurman in welterweight debut

Mario Barrios never backed down in his first fight of 2022.

Mario Barrios and Keith Thurman weigh-in at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on Friday, February 4, 2022. (Ryan Hafey, Ryan Hafey)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – Entering Saturday’s welterweight bout, Mario Barrios was 17-0 against fighters who were coming off a loss.

It was something fans of San Antonio’s former world champ hope would continue against Keith “One Time” Thurman, a veteran welterweight who last fought Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao in 2019 and lost by split decision.

When Barrios fought Gervonta Davis last summer, he came out battling Davis from the start.

That was not the same Saturday night in Las Vegas as Barrios fought in his second straight pay-per-view bout. Thurman looked strong and very quick in his punches and counter-punches. Thurman definitely didn’t look like a former world champ who hadn’t fought in two and a half years.

Despite a cautious attack from Barrios, Thurman continued to outland his opponent throughout the fight. Thurman landed a strong left hook towards the end of the fourth round, which seemed to make Barrios off-balanced.

Before the start of the fifth round, it was clear Barrios was bleeding from the nose and had a cut above his left eye. Barrios would suffer a deeper cut above the same eye later in the fight.

“El Azteca” got quality shots on Thurman and won a few later rounds despite Thurman staying active and never easing off his steady attack. Thurman spent time looking for his shots but never overwhelmed Barrios to the point he would be knocked out or even knocked down.

By the eighth round, Barrios had a significant amount of blood pouring down the left side of his face from those two cuts above the eye. Despite that, it was Barrios’ best round at that point, landing a body shot to Thurman that caused him to back up and remove his mouthpiece to catch his breath.

In true form as we’ve seen from Barrios, he never retreated and continued throwing punches until the very end.

Thurman won by unanimous decision 118-110, 118-110 and 117-111. Barrios is now 26-2 with 17 knockouts.

After the fight, Barrios said this was the fight he was expecting and that they were happy with the outcome, even though he did not get the win.

Daniel P. Villanueva has worked with KSAT 12 for over 18 years and is an award-winning producer. To submit story ideas, email dvillanueva@ksat.com


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.