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Davis vs Santa Cruz: Mario Barrios ‘preparing for war’ against underdog Ryan Karl

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Mario Barrios will be a big favorite on Oct. 31, but he’s not looking past the aggressive Ryan Karl.

Brett Ostrowski/MJS Entertainment

25-year-old Mario Barrios is a key part of Showtime’s Oct. 31 pay-per-view from the Alamodome in San Antonio, as the rising junior welterweight contender will be fighting at home in the co-feature slot on the undercard, going on just before the Gervonta Davis vs Leo Santa Cruz main event.

While the Alamodome will be socially distanced, there will be live fans in attendance, and that means Barrios (25-0, 16 KO) will be looking to put on a show at home. He’s got a good chance to do just that, as he’s facing a major underdog in Ryan Karl (18-2, 12 KO), a 28-year-old fellow Texan who comes to fight but, frankly, does not have the skill set that should allow him to hang with Barrios for too long.

That’s just an outside observer’s assessment, mind you, and Barrios can’t really afford to take the same perspective. What Barrios should and seems to see is a fighter who always brings action and really has nothing to lose here, which can be a dangerous combination if an opponent hasn’t taken them seriously.


How to Watch Davis vs Santa Cruz

Date: Saturday, Oct. 31 | Start Time: 9:00 pm ET
Location: Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
TV: Showtime PPV | Stream: Showtime.com
Price: $74.99
Live Online Coverage: BadLeftHook.com


“Ryan Karl is an excellent fighter who is going to bring a lot of heart into the ring,” said Barrios from training camp. “He’s strong and likes to mix it up, so I’m preparing for a war.

“We’ve known each other since our amateur days back in Texas, but this will be the first time fighting each other. At the end of the day, business is business, I am honored to be sharing the ring with him, but my goal will be to display my boxing abilities and explosiveness. I’m not looking for a knockout, but everything I throw is with bad intentions.”

Barrios is working with trainer Virgil Hunter, most famous for his association with Andre Ward, of course, and says that fighter-trainer relationship continues to produce the results he’s wanted to see.

“Training camp with Virgil has been great,” said Barrios. “We keep growing with each fight. I’m learning and adding more to my arsenal. I have full confidence in my preparation, so I know that come fight night, I’ll be ready to handle the best Karl is able to bring.”