ATLANTA – Gervonta Davis impressed Mario Barrios last Saturday night.
The junior lightweight and lightweight champion’s power obviously was effective in his 140-pound debut. Davis knocked down Barrios three times – twice in the eighth round and once in the 11th round – on his way to an 11th-round, technical-knockout victory at State Farm Arena.
Barrios believes Davis (25-0, 24 KOs) could continue to thrive in the junior welterweight division if the powerful southpaw remains at the 140-pound limit. The former WBA world super lightweight title-holder stopped short, however, of predicting Davis could beat the division’s undisputed champion, Josh Taylor.
“I’m not gonna say all that,” Barrios told BoxingScene.com following his first defeat. “You know, styles make fights. Josh Taylor is an undisputed champ right now for a reason. I mean, if Tank chooses to stay at 140, I think that would be another great fight.”
The 26-year-old Davis seems committed to moving back down to at least the lightweight limit of 135 pounds for his next fight. Baltimore’s Davis, promoter Floyd Mayweather and Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe haven’t ruled out Davis’ next appearance taking place at the junior lightweight maximum of 130 pounds, either.
None of them seem interested in Davis challenging Taylor (18-0, 13 KOs), the Scottish southpaw who owns the IBF, WBA “super,” WBC and WBO 140-pound championships. Of course, there are plenty of high-profile fights for Davis in the lightweight division, most notably showdowns with rivals Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney or Teofimo Lopez.
“I think if he wants, he could definitely stick around at 140,” Barrios said. “But, you know, that’s his decision ultimately.”
Barrios (26-1, 17 KOs) doesn’t think he hurt Davis at any point in their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event. The taller, heavier Barrios believes he did earn Davis’ respect early in their scheduled 12-round title fight, though.
“I think he definitely felt the power, but he’s a great boxer,” Barrios said. “He wasn’t easy to hit and he was the better man tonight.”
The 26-year-old Barrios isn’t certain if he’ll remain in the 140-pound division, either, or move up to welterweight now that he has suffered his first professional defeat. The San Antonio native just hopes he enhanced his reputation with this strong showing against the undefeated Davis.
“I told everybody I would show who the real ‘Azteca’ is,” Barrios said. “I hope they were able to see that. I’ll be back stronger, smarter, and a better fighter.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.