Bob Santos embraces Mario Barrios versus Jaron Ennis fight

Bob Santos believes Mario Barrios is ready for Jaron “Boots” Ennis.

Barrios, 28, impressed in his last fight by outpointing Yordenis Ugas at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena in September.

The 26-year-old Ennis was soon afterwards elevated to the status of IBF welterweight champion after the organisation stripped Terence Crawford. 

“Boots is a tremendous fighter,” Santos, Barrios’ trainer, told ProBox TV. “We see that he can do everything. Unfortunately for him, when you are young and that talented a lot of guys [will say] ‘Who have you fought?’

“He passes the eyeball test, there is no two ways about that. Definitely think he is going to be a future star, and he just needs the opportunity to be in with a big name like a Mario Barrios or a Terence Crawford. He needs one of those names on his résumé to go to the next level. 

“We know it would be a difficult task at hand, but, hey, that’s why they make the fights – and obviously you come to win and come fight night you see what happens. A lot of times you look at fights like Zab Judah. He was the heir apparent. He was everything. He fights Kostya Tszyu. Kostya Tszyu had a loss to Vince Phillips, and it is an after-mentioned thought. Then it doesn’t turn out that way.

“That is why you make the fight and we will be prepared for that [if that fight happens].”

Santos also reflected on Barrios' win over Ugas. 

“Obviously, the weight is a big part of it,” he continued. “Being able to be at 147, because he has a big, tall frame. So, he is much more comfortable at that weight class, but we knew heading into that fight even though he is only 28 years old, in retrospect, his career was on the line. We needed a big performance – he needed that performance, so he wouldn’t be a gatekeeper. 

“To ascend himself to that next level. He did it and got the job done, and you look at the position he is in now and some of the names you hear now on the internet [Conor] Benn or [Jaron] ‘Boots’ Ennis…so obviously he put himself in a tremendous position.”