Will Gervonta Davis continue his run or is Mario Barrios too big and a real risk?

Michael Rueda
Gervonta Davis Mario Barrios boxing
Gervonta Davis takes on Mario Barrios this weekend in Atlanta. Photo: Showtime

When Gervonta Davis became a Floyd Mayweather protégé, interest in the fighter increased, as did the expectations. Yet despite all of the hype, promotion, and his mentor, questions remain on just how good Davis is and whether or not he’s ready for his next challenge.

Gervonta Davis current boasts a 24-0 record – including 23 knockouts – good enough for a 95% knockout rate. He has a solid fan base and a strong push from Mayweather Promotions and Showtime. This Saturday fin Atlanta, Davis takes on Top 10 Junior Welterweight Mario “El Azteca” Barrios in what should be an interesting challenge for the man they call “Tank.”

Barrios boasts a record of 26-0 (17 KOs), so you’d think the matchup would be an exciting one for boxing fans. Yet the matchup has sparked criticism because it’s being marketed as a Junior Welterweight title fight, and we all know that Josh Taylor became undisputed just last month at that weight. In reality, it’s a fight for the standard WBA title, which doesn’t make it any less interesting in our book.

Interest in Gevonta Davis vs. Mario Barrios

Gervonta Davis is sort of an enigma in the fight game. Davis has been a buzzsaw at times in his career and, at times, has appeared a little lethargic with ongoing weight issues. We know that you can expect that his opponent will hit the deck at some point. Davis’ last 15 fights have ended by either knockout or technical knockout, and that is part of his nearly seven-year run of finishing fights early – he’s never had to go the distance.

Gervonta Davis Mario Barrios boxing
Gervonta Davis fights against Francisco Fonseca during a boxing match at T-Mobile Arena. Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Barrios, for his part, has had knockouts or stoppage victories in eight of his past 10 fights, so more than likely, we will see some knockdowns and possibly an explosive knockout. Gervonta Davis, last year, had one of the best knockouts in recent memory as he left Leo Santa Cruz unconscious from a left uppercut in the sixth round. Barrios also has had some really solid knockouts. One of the most memorable being a straight-right counter shot to Eudy Bernando that fought stopped him in round two of their fight.

He ain’t heavy: the weight discussion

Weight has been the main point of contention and discussion in the run-up to this fight. Gervonta Davis is moving up 10 pounds from his previous fight, though he has fought at 135 as well. Weight is such a polarizing issue with this fight because Barrios is the bigger man when you see them side by side and just in general.

The surprising fact for some is that “El Azteca” actually started at 122 pounds, but that was when he was 18, so not too much should be put into that. Davis has always had the frame to fit up to the higher weights. The real question is, will that devasting power at the lower weights carry up? Barrios has been hit by bigger fighters, but not of the class of “Tank,” so how will he respond.

For his part, Gervonta Davis has been in with some outstanding fighters, but none as big as Barrios, so how will he respond to getting hit by the bigger man? Weight may not be the biggest story of the fight; it could be each fighter’s actual skill and will.

Will Gervonta Davis vanquish Mario Barrios?

Prediction: Davis wins via TKO in the 10th round.

Although Mario Barrios is a big guy and can win this fight, I believe the speed and movement of Davis will be too much for him. Eventually, he gets desperate and, knowing he’s behind on the scorecards, opens himself up. I believe he attacks more and gets hit at will by “Tank” and can no longer continue. A victory for the Baltimore fighter makes him a much bigger player in the sport, as he will have options easily from 130 to 140. Davis vs Stevenson, Valdez, or Herring at 130; at 135 Haney, Lopez, Garcia; at 140 Prograis, Barboza, Ramirez, and Taylor. It’s an exciting fight that needs no negative sidebars to enjoy it.