Mario Barrios in search of another victory, and eventually a title fight

Mario Barrios

Mario Barrios/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions


Mario Barrios has come a long way in a short time. At age 21 and just 2 1/2 years into his pro career, he is 15-0 with eight knockouts and ranked as high as No. 12 by one governing body.

Barrios on July 9 will take on Devis Boschiero (39-4-1, 21 KOs) of Italy in the super featherweight main event at Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, N.J. (on ESPN).

Boschiero is ranked No. 8 in the same poll that ranks Barrios.

“This is what I’ve worked my whole life for, to be fighting in main events on national television,” said Barrios, of San Antonio. “I’m confident that I’ll be able to the full 12 rounds if need be.  My goal is to get the knockout, though. I really want to make a statement in this fight.”

(Barrios has never been scheduled for more than eight rounds.)

Considering the division in which Barrios toils, he needs to make a statement every time out because it is brimming with ferocious talent. Barrios gets that.

“It’s a very tough division loaded with a lot of great fighters,” he said. “I would say (Vasyl) Lomachenko, (Jose) Pedraza and (Francisco) Vargas are the top dogs for now. (Orlando) Salido is also up there. It’s one of the toughest divisions in boxing. I’m hoping I can become a champion in this division. A victory against Boschiero puts me right there to challenge for the title. I’m a hungry fighter and everyone will see that on July 9.”


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Vasyl Lomachenko didn’t recognize Orlando Salido before March 2014 fight

Vasyl Lomachenko/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.


Vasyl Lomachenko is one of the finest Olympians in history, having won gold medals for Ukraine in both the 2008 and 2012 Games. Still, it was somewhat stunning to see him fight for a world title in his second pro bout.

Then-featherweight champion Orlando Salido of Mexico was Lomachenko’s obstacle in March 2014 in San Antonio. Another one arose at the weigh-in after Salido lost his belt on the scale when he weighed 128 1/4 pounds, 2 1/4 over the limit. That meant only Lomachenko could leave the ring with the title.

However, it also meant that the overweight Salido would enter the ring at 147 pounds, gaining 18 1/2 after the weigh-in. He was 11 pounds heavier than Lomachenko on fight night.

The result was a split-decision loss for Lomachenko. Interestingly, he said that when he saw Salido in the ring before the bell, he couldn’t believe his eyes.

“When he came in the ring and took his t-shirt off, it looked like a different person in front of me than the person I saw at the weigh-in,” Lomachenko said this week. “There was a completely different person in front of me.”

The difference was apparent.

“Did I feel his weight in the ring?” Lomachenko said. “Yes, I did feel his weight when I was fighting him, but I cannot blame it on the weight or anything. I was prepared for him to come heavier in the ring. But I still had to fight – I had to do what I had to do.”

Lomachenko (5-1, 3 KOs) won a featherweight title in his next bout with a majority decision over Gary Russell Jr. in June 2014 at StubHub Center. He has made three defenses and will move up in weight June 11 to challenge Roman “Rocky” Martinez (29-2-3, 17 KOs) of Puerto Rico for his super featherweight belt at Madison Square Garden (on HBO).

Salido (43-13-3, 30 KOs) on Saturday will challenge countryman Francisco Vargas (23-0-1, 17 KOs) for his super featherweight title at StubHub (on HBO).

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Orlando Salido looking forward to his shot at ‘prestigious WBC belt’

Orlando Salido, right, and, Vasyl Lomachenko, left, trade punches in a 12-round featherweight title bout on Saturday, March 1, 2014, in San Antonio. Salido won by split decision. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Orlando Salido, right, trades punches with Vasyl Lomachenko during their featherweight title fight in March 2014 in San Antonio. Salido won a split-decision/AP photo by Eric Gay


Orlando Salido of Mexico has held the WBO and IBF featherweight world titles, but he has never had a WBC title, which is a favorite among Mexican fighters because of its long history and because the organization is based in Mexico. City.

Salido will have the chance to realize his dream when he challenges countryman Francisco Vargas for his WBC super featherweight belt on June 4 at StubHub Center in Carson (on HBO).

“I am very anxious to get in the ring and very motivated that I will face a great champion and fight for the prestigious WBC belt, a championship that I have dreamed of fighting for since I was 12 years old and saw my idol Julio Cesar Chavez wear it with pride and honor,” Salido said this week from his training camp in Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, Mexico.

Vargas is 23-0-1 with 17 knockouts. Salido is 43-13-3 with 30 knockouts. He also has held an interim WBO super featherweight belt.


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Gay boxer Orlando Cruz says life has changed since coming out in October

Featherweight contender Orlando Cruz of Puerto Rico last October announced to the world that he is gay. He is believed to be the first fighter to do that while still active.

During a conference call this week promoting his Oct. 12 title fight with Orlando Salido of Mexico, Cruz indicated he was thrilled regarding his decision to come out.

“My life has changed completely,” Cruz said. “I am now a different person. I am happy with the support that all of the people have given me. And I just want to continue to work hard doing the things that I need to do to make history.”

Cruz, a 32-year-old southpaw, is 20-2-1 with 10 knockouts. Salido, 32, is 39-12-2 with 27 knockouts.

They will fight underneath the welterweight title fight between Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view).


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