By Jim Calfa: Mario Barrios wants Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman to know he’s making a mistake by overlooking him ahead of their February 5th fight on FOX PPV.
Thurman will be making one of his rare appearances, fighting for the first time in two and half years, and no one knows what he has left of his once impressive skills.
Barrios wants to use the aging ring rusty 33-year-old ‘One Time’ to “showcase” his skills in their headliner at the Michelob Ultra Arena, Las Vegas.
If Barrios beats Thurman, he’s likely to send him into retirement because this would be a loss that would be almost impossible for the former WBA/WBC 147-lb champion to come back from.
Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) has been talking big about wanting to fight for a world title in the summer against WBO welterweight champion Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford.
As far as Thurman is concerned, the former WBA ‘regular’ light welterweight champion Barrios (26-1, 17 KOs) is just a speedbump that he must roll over to the lucrative fights he wants at 147.
Thurman needs to clear the 26-year-old Barrios from his path to get to the Crawford fight, but that may prove easier said than done.
Barrios gave Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis all he could handle last June before bowing out in the 11th round in their fight on SHOWTIME PPV.
This is Barrios’ second consecutive headliner on pay-per-view, and he’s hoping to have better luck this time around.
Barrios warns Thurman
“We’re trying to picture what Keith Thurman is going to be in the ring come February 5th, and he wants to prove a point,” said Mario Barrios to PBC Podcast. “He wants to get back on track to where he was in the division. But this is my first fight at welterweight, and I’m trying to make my own impact and my own stamp in the division.
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“He might be, and if he is, that’s a mistake that he’s making,” said Barrios when asked if Thurman might be looking past him towards bigger fights. I can’t speak on what he’s thinking about or what he’s worried about right now.
“I just know that I’m thinking about Keith Thurman, and if he’s worried about anyone else other than Mario Barrios, he’s making a big mistake. I’m very grateful for the opportunity again to headline pay-per-view, this time on FOX,” said Barrios.
If Thurman doesn’t focus on Barrios, he could lose because this is a guy who is arguably a better fighter than Josesito Lopez.
Three years ago, Thurman came close to being knocked out by Josesito when he made his comeback after another two-year layoff.
Beating Thurman takes Barrios’ career to next level
“Again, coming off of a loss, a lot of fighters don’t get the opportunity,” said Barrios. “This is another form of motivation.
“I know a lot of fighters coming off a loss don’t get this type of opportunity again [to fight on PPV]. I’m in the gym working and hungry. That’s why I’m so excited.
“Hopefully, I walk away with the win, whether it comes by stoppage or whether it goes the distance. A victory on February 5th takes my career to the next level in Mario Barrios’ legacy.
“I want to make my stamp in the division, which is why I’m taking such a brutal fight.
“A victory over Keith Thurman, someone who has been in with some of the best in the division, it puts me up in the top 10 at least at 147 right now.
“I’ve had a good camp, and I feel stronger than ever,” said Barrios. I’m taking things to another level. I’m excited to be back, and I want to showcase the fighter I am.
“To be across from a fighter like Thurman, it’s going to be fireworks. It’s going to be a very exciting fight,” said Barrios.
Beating Thurman will likely result in Barrios being given a top-five ranking at 147 and open the doors for another significant fight opportunity.