Top welterweight contender Mario Barrios is backing Brian Mendoza to pull off an upset on Saturday (Sunday in Australia) when he faces WBO junior middleweight champion Tim Tszyu. The fight will be carried in the United States on Showtime.
Barrios has experienced some training camp moments with Mendoza and explains that he packs a big punch.
The two sparred together when Barrios was preparing to face Keith Thurman in 2022. Over the years, the two have become close friends.
Mendoza is riding a hot streak of wins, which include knockouts of former unified champion Jeison Rosario and undefeated Sebastion Fundora.
Barrios believes Mendoza is more than capable of pulling off a shocker against Tszyu.
“Brian has real power. Danger is always there when you’re sparring him. He’s such a nice dude but, when you’re training with him, he is moving, moving, it’s almost like he lures you to sleep. And that’s when he cracks you with something you don’t expect. He catches you with a big shot when you least expect it,” Barrios told Fox Sports.
“I met Brian before I fought Keith Thurman. I’d sparred with him in Las Vegas and so, before Thurman, I spoke with my manager and said ‘I want to have Brian help me get ready’. So he became a sparring partner and that’s where we got close. For my last two fights I’ve also continued training in Las Vegas so Brian and I have got even closer, he’s family.
“That’s why when they initially brought this fight up, we were at training and I told him ‘if your fight is after mine, I will definitely fly to Australia and support you’. My fight ended up two weeks before his, so here I am. Because I love the way Brian has taken these big fights, even on short notice. It just proves his dedication, his determination. He’s a hungry fighter. There are just so many things I admire about him as a fighter, as a friend. And that’s the reason I’ve come all the way across the world to support him.”