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‘There’s never a name that I say no to’: Mario Barrios on fighting Yordenis Ugas, making mark at 147

Mario Barrios says he doesn’t duck challenges, and expects the best Yordenis Ugas.

Mario Barrios says he doesn’t duck challenges, and expects the best Yordenis Ugas
Mario Barrios says he doesn’t duck challenges, and expects the best Yordenis Ugas
Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Mario Barrios will face Yordenis Ugas on the Canelo vs Charlo undercard on Sept. 30, with the WBC’s “interim” welterweight title at stake.

While many have an understandable issue with the sanctioning body issuing an interim title so quickly after the division crowned a true and clear undisputed champion in Terence “Bud” Crawford, the fight itself looks like a good one for where both welterweights are in their careers.

The 28-year-old Barrios (27-2, 18 KO) beat Jovanie Santiago in February after back-to-back losses to Gervonta Davis and Keith Thurman in 2021-22, while the 37-year-old Ugas (27-5, 12 KO) hasn’t been in the ring since getting wiped out by Errol Spence Jr in Apr. 2022.

It’s cliche, but there is a make-or-break aspect to this for both fighters — Ugas because of his age and the clock ticking on being a serious contender, and Barrios because he really needs a win over a guy with Ugas’ credibility.

“Whenever a fight is brought to me, there’s never a name that I say no to,” Barrios said at Tuesday’s press conference. “This was no different. Ugas is a tremendous fighter and this is a huge opportunity. I was more than happy to take the fight.

“I’m trying to solidify my mark in this division. It’s gonna be a tough fight. I’ve never seen him shy away from a fight and I have a similar style. This is gonna be an explosive one that you don’t want to miss. We’re both gonna bring it on fight night.”

Barrios, wisely, is not taking anything from Ugas’ age or his inactivity.

“I’m expecting the best version of Ugas. We both have a lot to prove,” he said. “A victory puts us right up there with all of the top welterweights. There’s a lot of good fights to be made and we’re all working to get to the top of the division.

“I was learning with each fight and took a lot away from my defeats. I’m still just as hungry as ever. I had my comeback fight and now I’m looking to bring another title back home.

“It’s gonna take everything to get this win. I’m gonna have to use my boxing ability, my power and my range. It’s gonna be an exciting fight and I’m looking forward to it.”

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