Sports

How Mario Barrios won over the State Farm Arena crowd

Mario Barrios entered to boos in Atlanta, but he left with respect.

The 26-year-old Texan came out ahead of his fight on Saturday at State Farm Arena to a crowd that was clearly in with Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis’ corner.

A highly anticipated match between the undefeated lightweights saw Barrios withstand an onslaught of punches from the 26-year-old Davis.

The bout took a turn in the eighth round when Davis’ right hook dropped Barrios to the mat to the delight of a cheerful crowd. Barrios got up before being knocked back to the canvas again.

There was no quit in Barrios, however, as he composed himself and continued on — experiencing obvious pain to his nose and eyes, he showed heart that endeared him to the crowd.

Davis finally ended it in the 11th round, knocking Barrios down one last time to score the TKO and the WBA Lightweight Title.

“I’ve never been a hater. Congrats to ‘Tank.’ He came here and did his thing. It was nothing short of an exciting fight and that’s exactly what both of us predicted. He was the better man tonight, but I’ll definitely be back,” said Barrios after his defeat. “’Tank’ is explosive. He caught me slipping and it’s boxing. At the end of the day, one punch can change the fight. That’s exactly what I felt happened. Congrats to him.”

Gervonta Davis, right, hits Mario Barrios during the WBA Super Lightweight world championship boxing match on Saturday.
Mario Barrios took plenty of punches from Gervonta Davis — and earned some respect along the way.
AP Photo

Barrios was supported by his mother, father, sister and sponsored by attorney Thomas J. Henry who sat front row.

Davis, 26, was walked out by rapper and newly crowned BET winner for Best Male Hip Hop Artist Lil Baby.

Other celebrities in attendance were Shaquille O’Neal, Matt Barnes, T.I. his wife Tiny Harris, Monica, RHOA Kandi Burruss, Vanessa Posso, and Nene Leakes. 

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