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Baltimore boxer Gervonta Davis to fight Mario Barrios on Showtime pay-per-view in June

Baltimore boxing champion Gervonta Davis will headline another Showtime pay-per-view card June 26 when he moves up to the 140-pound weight class to face undefeated Mario Barrios.

The 26-year-old Davis’ legal troubles, including an alleged hit-and-run incident in Baltimore last November, did not prevent Showtime from continuing to build around him as a rising star.

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The network announced Davis’ championship fight with Barrios on Thursday as the centerpiece of a nine-show lineup running from May until September.

The 25-year-old Barrios (26-0, 17 knockouts) isn’t as big a name as other potential opponents who were linked to Davis, including Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney and Teofimo Lopez, but he will hold substantial height and reach advantages. Davis (24-0, 23 knockouts) will move up two weight classes from his previous fight against Leo Santa Cruz. He fought Yuriorkis Gamboa in the 135-pound weight class in December 2019.

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If he wins again — and he’ll likely be heavily favored because of his advantages in speed and experience — he would set himself up for potential matchups anywhere from 130 to 140 pounds. The Athletic first reported the planned matchup with Barrios, who holds the World Boxing Association super lightweight title. Showtime has yet to announce a location for the fight.

When Davis landed an uppercut to the chin of Santa Cruz on Halloween night, he seemed to set up unlimited possibilities for his short-term future. The punch, and Davis’ star turn against the rugged Santa Cruz in his first opportunity as a pay-per-view headliner, were the talk of boxing. Top fighters in the 130- and 135-pound weight classes called Davis out for potential superfights.

Five days later, Davis was allegedly involved in a hit-and-run crash in downtown Baltimore that left four drivers in another car injured and led the boxer to be indicted on 14 misdemeanor charges ranging from failure to remain at the scene to driving on a suspended license. An arraignment hearing is scheduled for June in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

Davis is also preparing to stand trial next month in Florida on two misdemeanor battery charges stemming from an alleged public altercation with the mother of his child at a charity basketball game. Video of that February 2020 incident circulated online and briefly caused Davis to go silent on his usually bustling social media platforms.

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Representatives for Davis and Showtime have declined to comment on the charges he’s facing in Baltimore.

In the run-up to the Santa Cruz fight, Showtime Sports president Stephen Espinoza said of the two combatants: “We’ve seen them mature as fighters. We’ve seen them mature as young men.”

Davis has acknowledged his difficulties avoiding trouble when he’s not in training.

“I’ve placed myself with better people,” he said before the Santa Cruz fight. “I’m not around that environment no more. My main focus is boxing now. That’s what I want to surround myself with.”

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