CARSON, California – Carlos Adames didn’t mince words when he was asked why he handled Juan Macias Montiel much easier than Jermall Charlo.

Adames claimed after his third-round destruction of Montiel on Saturday night at Dignity Health Sports Park that motivation and work ethic have separated him from Charlo. Houston’s Charlo has held at least some sort of WBC middleweight title for four years, but the ascending Adames (22-1, 17 KOs) thinks the unbeaten Houston native has lost his hunger.

“The difference is that I’m working hard to be the best,” Adames said during his post-fight press conference late Saturday night. “And he’s clearly not working hard to be the best. I get up every single morning from bed wanting to be the best. I don’t see that from Charlo. So, what was the difference between [my fight with Montiel] and then [when he fought] Montiel? That’s it.”

Mexico’s Montiel made Charlo work harder than expected during their 12-round, 160-pound championship match in June 2021 at Toyota Center in Houston. Charlo beat Montiel by scores of 120-108, 119-109 and 118-109, but Montiel impressed Charlo with his awkwardness and toughness.

Charlo predicted Montiel would eventually become a middleweight world champion, but Adames made sure that didn’t happen when they fought for the WBC interim title in Showtime’s co-feature.

Adames nailed Montiel with a right hook that made him stumble forward and turn his back to Adames with 35 seconds to go in the third round. Adames prevented Montiel from recovering because he hit him with various power punches that forced referee Ray Corona to step between them to protect Montiel from taking unnecessary punishment.

The 28-year-old Adames has defeated Ukraine’s Sergiy Derevyanchenko (14-4, 10 KOs) by majority decision and Montiel (23-6-2, 23 KOs) in back-to-back middleweight matches. He maintained his top spot in the WBC’s rankings by beating Montiel.

“I definitely think I’m the first one in the division right now,” Adames told Showtime’s Jim Gray in the ring following his impressive victory. “And I hope the big ones have the courage to face me now.”

Adames is the mandatory challenger for Charlo’s championship, but Charlo hasn’t boxed in the 15 months since he beat Montiel. The 32-year-old Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs) was supposed to make an optional title defense against Poland’s Maciej Sulecki (30-2, 11 KOs) on June 18 at Toyota Center, but Charlo withdrew from that bout, reportedly due to a back injury suffered while doing roadwork.

If Charlo isn’t available, Adames will target other top middleweights early in 2023.

“Not only Charlo,” Adames said, “all of the champions of the division I wanna face and beat.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.