If there is any fight on the current schedule that Mario Barrios is looking forward to more than his own, it’s the one where he envisions himself facing the winner.
The unbeaten secondary WBA junior welterweight titlist is among the sport’s most interested observers for this Saturday’s showdown between Avenal, California’s Jose Ramirez. (26-0, 17KOs) and Scotland’s Josh Taylor (17-0, 13KOs). All four major belts are at stake in their ESPN-televised main event, which airs live from The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
The winner will leave the ring with the WBC/WBA “Super”/IBF/WBO titles in tow, with Barrios envisioning the hardware remaining on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.
“Both guys are at the top of their game and it’s going to be a close fight,” Barrios told BoxingScene.com of the forthcoming undisputed junior welterweight championship showdown. “But I’m picking Ramirez to win by decision. I just think his relentlessness is going to overwhelm Taylor.”
Barrios (26-0, 17 KOs) has a big fight of his in the coming weeks. The 26-year-old San Antonio native faces one of the sport’s elite in unbeaten WBA junior lightweight titlist Gervonta 'Tank' Davis (24-0, 23KOs), who aims to carry his punching power two divisions north for their June 26 Showtime Pay-Per-View headliner in Atlanta, Georgia.
The fight comes with Barrios’ title at stake, with the winner left in a promising position to challenge for all of the divisional hardware down the road. Davis is already on record stating his desire to collect belts in multiple weight divisions.
Barrios’ short-term goals are to conquer one of the biggest pound-for-pound punchers in the sport and then clean out the junior welterweight division.
“Whomever the winner is, I’ll be coming for him as my ultimate goal is to become undisputed champion at ,” vows Barrios. “First thing is first. I must take out Tank. I just want to win at all costs and be remembered as one of the all-time greats.”
Ramirez is a +200 underdog to beat Taylor (-250) this weekend, according to BetMGM sportsbook. Early odds have Barrios has a +230 underdog to prevail against Davis, who is a -300 favorite despite moving up in weight.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox