INSIDE THE RING: Mario Barrios wins in co-main event to Canelo vs. Munguia

“El Azteca” successfully defended his title belt in his first fight this year.

Mario Barrios won by unanimous decision vs. Fabian Maidana Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nevada at the T-Mobile Arena. (Esther Lin, Esther Lin/PBC)

LAS VEGAS, NV. – While all the talk in the boxing world has been focused on the war of words between Canelo Alvarez and his former promoter Oscar De La Hoya, fighters like Mario Barrios have kept their focus on the task at hand.

San Antonio’s world champ put his title belt on the line Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas as the co-main event leading into the much anticipated Canelo Alvarez vs. Jaime Munguia bout. Barrios was defending his WBC Interim World Welterweight championship belt for the first time against Argentina’s Fabian Maidana, the younger brother to boxing great Marcos Maidana.

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Barrios, who has been training in Las Vegas since switching from Virgil Hunter to Bob Santos as his trainer, received a warm welcome when he made his way to the ring. The San Antonio native was the aggressor from the opening bell, using his height advantage to intimidate Maidana and back him against the ropes.

The third round capped off a great start for Barrios, who used a quick left jab followed by a straight right punch to Maidana’s head, sending him down to the canvas for the first time in his career.

Maidana responded in the fourth, squaring up and delivering a hard left that almost caught Barrios off balance. Maidana continued to attack in the next round and that’s when it appeared that Barrios was raising his gloves to his head, spending more time protecting the right side of his face. It became noticeable that Barrios’ face was starting to swell just under his right eye.

By the eighth round Barrios was protecting his eye more than throwing his punches. By the ninth round it appeared his right eye had already swollen shut.

“I started feeling it right away, it was hard to find my range, hard to get my rhythm down” Barrios said. “He had good lateral movement, he was picking his shots pretty well. It definitely played a factor. I’m not too happy with my performance.”

However, Maidana could not take advantage of a weakened Barrios. Maidana looked gassed by the ninth round while Barrios used his left jab to continue to land clean punches with little resistance from his opponent.

It stayed that way through the championship rounds.

In the end, all three judges at ringside scored the fight the same - 116 to 111, all in favor of Mario Barrios, who wins by unanimous decision.

“I know he came in for a hard twelve rounds,” explained Barrios about what he expected after he knocked Maidana down in the third round. “My hat’s off to Maidana, he came in here like a warrior. It’s always these types of fights that you don’t see coming, they are usually the hardest, it was a great fight.”

Barrios improves to 29-2, with 18 knockouts while Maidana drops to 22-3 with 16 knockouts, losing his first fight in the United States.

As you can see below, after Barrios knocked Maidana down in the third round, his power punches dropped and his jab’s increased.

“El Azteca” was continuing to recover on Sunday, doing well with his eye according to the Team Barrios camp. Everything check out okay after the fight and Barrios is hoping to return to the ring right after the summer.

Barrios, a graduate of Southwest High School, recently revealed during a press conference that he was expecting to become a father soon and that becoming a parent had brought additional motivation for this bout in Las Vegas.

Daniel P. Villanueva has worked with KSAT 12 for over 20 years and is an award-winning producer. To submit story ideas, email

About the Author

Daniel P. Villanueva has been with KSAT 12 since 2003 and is the producer of our weekly sports show, "Instant Replay." Villanueva is a graduate of St. Mary's University and is a TAPB and Lone Star Emmy award winner.

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