Mario Barrios batters, drops, stops Jovanie Santiago in eighth round

Mario Barrios injected life into his career.

The welterweight contender, who was coming off consecutive losses, dropped Jovanie Santiago and then stopped him in the eighth round of a scheduled 10-round bout on the Rey Vargas-O’Shaquie Foster card Saturday in San Antonio.

The official time of the stoppage was 1:42.

The fight was competitive for a few rounds. Then Barrios, fighting in his home town, stepped up his aggression and seemed to land more and more punishing shots at the fighter progressed.

By Round 8, Santiago (14-3-1, 10 KOs) was taking a beating but had yet to hit the canvas. Finally, about a minute into the round, the Puerto Rican went down from left to the body.

Santiago got back to his fight only to absorb more hard, accurate shots from Barrios that prompted his trainer to stop the fight.

“It feels amazing,” Barrios said. “It took me a while to get that groove, to get that rhythm. I felt great.”

Barrios (27-2, 18 KOs) was stopped by Gervonta Davis in 11 rounds in 2021 at 140 pounds. He then moved up to 147 to face former titleholder Keith Thurman and was outpointed a year ago.

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