By: Hans Themistode
It was an expected call initially but one Mario Barrios was more than willing to take.
Barrios looked down on Gervonta Davis as the two stepped into the middle of the ring at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta Georgia earlier tonight.
Yet, after 11 rounds of a back and forth war, it was Davis who looked down upon Barrios.
Normally aggressive, Davis opted to play the waiting game as he moved up two weight classes to take this fight. With Barrios holding several physical advantages, including a five-inch height and four-inch reach advantage, Davis attempted to find his range. In the meanwhile, Barrios began banking rounds. The San Antonio native pushed out a steady jab and constantly had Davis playing defense.
In an attempt to change the momentum of the fight, the Baltimore native began pushing forward, but not throwing many shots. Seemingly content with the way things were playing out, Barrios continued to use what was working, his jab. Needing to navigate through several inches of reach, Davis began finding his mark. But while the offense of Davis was exactly where he wanted it, Barrios didn’t appear fazed. He smiled as Davis hit him with some of his best shots.
With that said, the smile plastered on the face of Barrios didn’t last for very long. As the middle rounds came rolling by, Barrios began wearing the punches of the much smaller man. Although their contest appeared to be even heading into the championship rounds, Davis gave himself some much-needed separation in the eighth.
After completely abandoning his jab, Davis took advantage and got on the inside, the current WBA “Regular” titlist at both 130 and 135 pounds landed an overhand right that saw Barrios hit the deck. He managed to peel himself up off the canvas but was still visibly hurt. Davis ran to his man as soon as the referee permitted and sent him back down to the mat, this time courtesy of a left hand. Once again, Barrios climbed back to his feet but with just over half the round remaining, Davis had plenty of time to work with.
Still, while he appeared to be mere moments from closing the show, Barrios bit down on his mouthpiece and made it to the end of the bell.
Seemingly annoyed with what took place in the eighth, Barrios came out aggressive in the ninth. He landed his best shot of the night, a looping left hand that pushed Davis into the ropes. A smiling Davis wasn’t deterred with what was coming his way and simply smiled at Barrios as he began fooling around in the ring.
Unamused, Barrios began letting his hands go, wiping the smile off Davis face immediately. In the tenth, both men fought to somewhat of a stalemate until the following round.
Finding his way on the inside once again, Davis landed a mind-numbing shot to the body that saw Barrios whimper in pain. He rose to his feet but placed his hands around his midsection in an attempt to protect himself. Taking advantage of his new way of defending himself was Davis as he went straight to the head of Barrios. While he may have remained on his feet, he stumbled around the ring which forced the referee to call a halt to their contest.