Unbeaten super lightweight contender Mario Barrios will look to deliver a sixth-consecutive knockout when he faces Jose Roman on Saturday from Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
The three-fight Shoetime telecast (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) is headlined by a lightweight title unification showdown between Mikey Garcia and Robert Easter Jr. and also features Cuban heavyweight slugger Luis "The Real King Kong" Ortiz returning to action to face former title challenger Razvan Cojanu in a 10-round bout.
Barrios (21-0, 13 KOs) made the leap from campaigning at 130-pounds to the super lightweight division in December 2016 and has stayed busy while knocking out increasingly difficult opposition as he nears world title contention.
Below is what the 23-year-old Barrios had to say about his July 28 matchup and more from training camp in Northern California with Virgil Hunter:
On his fight against Jose Roman:
"Roman is a very dangerous fighter with a good record. He’s a tall fighter like myself, so that will be a different challenge for me to overcome.
"There is no doubt he will be my toughest opponent to date. These are the kind of difficult fights I need to win and win convincingly to get to the championship level. I’m going in there on mission July 28 and I’m going to prove I’m ready for a title shot.
"I know he’s motivated going into this fight since he’ll be fighting near his hometown. I’m just going to stick to my game plan and focus on what I must do, and that’s throw hard punches with precise accuracy."
On his current knockout streak:
"Since I’ve move up to super-lightweight, my body has adjusted to the weight gain, and I’m feeling stronger than I ever have. I’m still growing into my man strength and my power is growing as well. I never go into a fight looking for the knockout, but if I get my opponent hurt, I promise I’ll be looking to take him out."
On his training camp for this bout:
"I’ve had a tremendous training camp. For the first few weeks I was training in San Antonio at the South Park Boxing Gym with my dad and Rick Nunez laying the groundwork for what we wanted to accomplish.
"Then I finished it off in up in Northern California with Virgil Hunter, who will be guiding my corner. Together we all make a fantastic team. I’ve had tremendous sparring for this fight, my health is good and I’m ready to go."
On making his SHOWTIME debut:
"I’m really excited to be making my debut on SHOWTIME debut on this card. I always knew I would be fighting on the big stage at some point in my career. Now it’s time to show the world what I’m made of. I’m very grateful to my team for giving me this opportunity."