SAN ANTONIO – Every boxer has to make changes if they want to survive in the ring.
And for every fighter, the day comes when they know it’s time to hang up the gloves.
In the last year, San Antonio’s boxing family met those changes head on. After back-to-back losses in pay-per-view main events, Mario Barrios decided to leave trainer Virgil Hunter, move his camp out of the San Francisco Bay area and find new pastures. His decision brought him to team up with trainer Bob Santos and start training in Las Vegas, Nevada and the desert that surrounds it.
“Making the move out there was something I had to do for my career,” said Barrios last week. “The next few years are the most important, this is when I’m hitting my prime. Years ago I promised San Antonio a world title and I did that. The goal remains the same now that I’m at welterweight. I feel like being in Las Vegas will get me the best work out there and I think I will accomplish a lot these next few years.”
With those changes comes some familiarity. Mario has brought on his sister, Selina Barrios, into this camp to help train him and to be in his corner as a co-trainer. She was in his corner on February 11 in the Alamodome when her brother defeated Jovanie Santiago by TKO in his 2023 debut. Barrios improved to 27-2 with 18 knockouts.
“It felt surreal (being in his corner) and it’s something you dream about but you don’t think it’s ever going to happen,” said Selina Barrios. “I was a little nervous. It was a really amazing feeling.”
Selina added, “I know my brother, he’s been in this boxing game for awhile. As coaches, we need to see those little things that can help here and there. I know my brother’s style of boxing and what will help him.”
Selina, a former professional boxer who last fought prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, is training several local fighters in the Alamo City while balancing her duties as a co-trainer to her brother.
Barrios told KSAT 12 Sports he’ll be back in Las Vegas in the next few weeks to beginning training for his next fight.
You can see more from our interview with both Mario and Selina Barrios in the video above.
Big s/o to @Boxer_Barrios for stopping by last night at our Southtown location! We had the opportunity to have a few words with him, such a great person humble and kind nothing but love! Keep an eye out for his next fight! Best of luck champ continue making us proud 🥊🏆 pic.twitter.com/lGGSD767gP— Susana’s Mexican Restaurant & Catering (@SusanasSA210) March 4, 2023
Daniel P. Villanueva has worked with KSAT 12 for over 19 years and is an award-winning producer. To submit story ideas, email email@example.com