Gervonta Davis vs Mario Barrios preview: Will ‘Tank’s’ power hold up at 140 lbs?

Gervonta Davis v Mario Barrios – Press Conference | Getty Images

Baltimore’s hard-hitting Gervonta Davis goes up in weight once again.

WBA super-featherweight and ‘regular’ lightweight champion Gervonta Davis (24-0, 23 KOs) moves up to challenge his super-lightweight counterpart Mario Barrios (26-0, 17 KOs) this Saturday on Showtime PPV in Atlanta, GA.

Davis is coming off of a devastating KO win over four-division titlist Leo Santa Cruz. However, that was at 130 pounds and Davis’ most notable accomplishment at 135 is knocking out the very faded Yuriorkis Gamboa. There are questions about the impact the size advantage of Barrios (5’10” to Davis’ 5’5”) will have in the fight. Barrios won the vacant WBA ‘regular’ belt against 2016 Olympian Batyr Akhmedov and was fortunate to win the belt that night. Akhmedov won seven rounds of the fight rather clearly and though Barrios scored two flash knockdowns that was only enough to earn him a draw on my card.

Like Davis, Akhmedov is a shorter southpaw and the ease with which he pressured and landed his straight left on Barrios doesn’t bode well for him if Davis’ knockout power carries over to superlightweight. Barrios is a decent boxer-puncher coached by Virgil Hunter and Davis has a tendency to not fight up to his potential that he could exploit but if he gets hit by half as many left hands than Akhmedov hit him with, I can’t see him making it to the final bell.

In the co-main event, Jeison Rosario (20-2-1, 14 KOs) faces Erickson Lubin (23-1, 16 KOs) in a WBC light middleweight title eliminator. Rosario upset Julian Williams for the WBA and IBF belts last year but his reign was short lived and he lost the belts to Jermell Charlo in his next fight. Rosario put up a decent performance but couldn’t withstand Charlo’s power and went down three times before getting stopped in the eighth.

Lubin also suffered a stoppage loss to Charlo in his only shot at a belt in 2017. He’s since recovered with five wins, including former Olympian and title challenger Terell Gausha and veterans Ishe Smith and Zakaria Attou. This should be a closely contested fight between the southpaw pressure fighting of Lubin and Rosario’s 1-2 and solid left hook. Lubin is a moderate favorite but Rosario is a very live underdog and this has the potential to be the best fight of the week end and has some tangible stakes as the winner will be the WBC mandatory challenger and earn a rematch with Charlo.

Batyr Akhmedov (8-1, 7 KOs), who gave so much trouble to Barrios is also in action on the card against former IBF super-featherweight champion Argenis Mendez (25-6-3, 12 KOs). Mendez is past his prime and fighting two divisions above his best weight so this should be a pretty routine outing for Akhmedov in his climb back to another super-lightweight title shot.

Barrios vs Davis airs on Showtime PPV on Saturday, June 26th at 9:00pm ET / 6:00pm PT

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