Mario “El Azteca” Barrios (27-2, 18 KOs), a former champion and native of San Antonio, ended his two-fight losing streak with a razor-sharp performance against Jovanie Santiago (14-3-1, 10 KOs).
After dropping Santiago with a left to the body in the eighth round and launching a barrage of punches, referee Mark Calo-Oy stopped the one-sided fight at 1:42 of the eighth round at the request of Santiago’s camp. At the moment of the pause, Barrios had a score of 70–63 on the judges’ scorecards, with 2 full rounds remaining.
Following the body punch that sent Santiago to the canvas for the fourth time in his career, Barrios, who is back with renowned trainer Bob Santos, delivered a straight right hand that snapped Santiago’s head back and prompted his corner to intervene.
.@Boxer_Barrios puts on for his city 🌃
Barrios defeats Santiago via 8th round TKO in his hometown #BarriosSantiago | #VargasFoster pic.twitter.com/d3xDQ5b92x
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) February 12, 2023
“It feels amazing,” Barrios said afterwards. “It took me a while to get into that groove, to get that rhythm. I felt great. I wouldn’t say I was different [tonight], but definitely with a larger arsenal. I’m pretty thankful to have Bob [Santos] in my corner and my sister.
“I had to get just as physical. That’s another thing we have been working on in the gym. I knew Santiago was coming with it. And he took the fight in my backyard. That says a lot about him. He’s a hell of a warrior, and I tip my hat to him.
“I felt myself breaking him down little by little. I just had to be patient. My counter right hand is something that we’ve been working on at the gym in Vegas. I feel I’m definitely up there with the [welterweight] elite. I still have something to prove. I promised my city a world title, and I got it in 2019 and I will do it again.”