Carlos Adames’ name is rarely mentioned when boxing’s middleweight champions and other top fighters in the 160-pound division discuss potential opponents.
The Dominican contender legitimized himself as one of the sport’s top middleweights when he out-pointed Sergiy Derevyanchenko in their 10-rounder last December 5 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Defeating Derevyanchenko by majority decision only made him a higher-risk, low-reward proposition, according to Adames.
“I feel like it’s not just [Jaime] Munguia and not just [Jermall] Charlo, but the entire 160-pound division is avoiding me, to where it’s kind of like all the top fighters in the division,” Adames told BoxingScene.com through a translator. “They’re not really wanting to face me. There’s nothing I can really do about that. I can only face what’s in front of me. And right now, that person is Montiel. So, I’m gonna take on that fight ahead of me. I can’t worry about what others may and may not do.”
Adames (21-1, 16 KOs), the WBC’s number one contender, will meet Mexico’s Juan Macias Montiel (23-5-2, 23 KOs), who is ranked sixth by the WBC, in a 12-round fight for the WBC interim middleweight title October 8 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. Showtime will air Adames-Montiel as its co-feature before Sebastian Fundora (19-0-1, 13 KOs), of Coachella, California, encounters another Mexican contender, Carlos Ocampo (34-1, 22 KOs), in the main event of the network’s tripleheader, a 12-round fight for Fundora’s WBC interim super welterweight title.
If Adames defeats Montiel, who gave Charlo a difficult fight 15 months ago, Houston’s Charlo would have to make a mandated defense of his WBC middleweight title against Adames at some point or risk losing his title. Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs), whose optional title defense against Poland’s Maciej Sulecki (30-2, 11 KOs) hasn’t been rescheduled, also could move up to the 168-pound division for the right opportunity in 2023.
Regardless, Adames doesn’t expect Charlo to fight him even if Adames becomes the WBC’s interim middleweight champion.
“I believe that he would try to avoid me because he had the chance to face me before, with not so much on the line,” Adames said. “And now, with everything that would be on the line, I don’t think he would be able to take that kind of pressure and he would try to sidestep it however he can. I would love to face him, but in his case, I don’t think he would be up to the challenge.”
The 32-year-old Charlo hasn’t fought since his tougher-than-anticipated title defense against Montiel in June 2021 at Toyota Center in Houston. Charlo was supposed to face Sulecki this past June 18 at Toyota Center, but their “Showtime Championship Boxing” main event was postponed indefinitely, reportedly due to a back injury Charlo suffered while training.
The 28-year-old Adames attributes his rise as a middleweight in large part to taking training more seriously than when he was a contender in the 154-pound division. The talented Adames lost to Brazil’s Patrick Teixeira (31-4, 22 KOs) by unanimous decision in his only junior middleweight title shot, but he has won three straight fights since Teixeira dropped Adames in the seventh round and won their 12-round bout for the then-vacant WBO belt by scores of 116-111, 114-113 and 114-113 in November 2019 at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.
Ukraine’s Derevyanchenko (14-4, 10 KOs) closed as an approximate 3-1 favorite, but a determined Adames beat him on two scorecards (97-93, 96-94, 95-95) on the Gervonta Davis-Isaac Cruz undercard almost 10 months ago.
“There was a before and after for me, basically before the fight against Derevyanchenko and afterwards,” Adames said. “Because before I fought Derevyanchenko, I didn’t have the kind of team that I have around me now. I didn’t have the kind of preparation that I have now and I didn’t have the tools that I have now. And then that win put the middleweight division on notice. Everyone saw what I was capable of. And now that I am able to prepare in even better fashion, that just says that I’m not even close to my ceiling, when it comes to that win against Derevyanchenko. The best is yet to come.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.