Carlos Adames might be the best middleweight in the world…might is the keyword there.
Adames is the WBC interim middleweight world champion, who this past weekend made his first title defense of an interim title over Julian “J-Rock” Williams via a ninth-round technical knockout. The WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo strongly implied and alleged to fight Canelo Álvarez, in Alvarez’s rumored Premier Boxing Champions debut, if that were to happen - Charlo who has been inactive for two years might not get to keep his WBC middleweight title.
That begs the potentially million-dollar question of what is next for Carlos Adames after his win this past Saturday night on Showtime?
The Big Fights
Adames is a big puncher, and more confident than ever since working with Bob Santos. Is he a master of the sweet science not entirely, but he is able to fight from both stances and hits hard. Adames also does a good job at setting up opportunities to land big shots, which allows things to snowball in the wrong direction for his opponent.
When ProBox TV News caught up with his head trainer, Bob Santos, prior to this fight - we learned something interesting. Adames is willing to move up and fight David Benavidez. A fight that would land Adames seemingly the biggest payday of his career.
"If we can't get the type of fights that we want at [middleweight], with [Jermall] Charlo or [Jaime] Munguia then I'd have no problems with moving Adames up to fight [David] Benavidez," Bob Santos told ProBox TV News. "If Benavidez doesn't want to fight David Morrell, we have Carlos Adames right there, and I feel very, very confident [in that fight]. You know, he has sparred Benavidez, he has sparred Caleb Plant, he has sparred everybody. I am very confident in his abilities and the things he brings to the table. So let's see how it plays out with Charlo."
So it is clear. Adames might be on the verge of being a full-fledged middleweight world champion, but given the weak nature of the division, it appears Adames is currently campaigning at money-weight. A weight class in which he is willing to move to a division that rewards him plentifully. That of which is the 168-pound division, one above the middleweight division he currently resides in.
The only logical fights at middleweight would be of note would be unification bouts. A fight against current WBO middleweight champion Janibek Alimkhanuly would be a great fight, but also one that probably wouldn’t change his tax bracket. Fighting the winner of this weekend’s vacant IBF middleweight world title fight between Esquiva Falcao and Vincenzo Gualtieri would be historically important, but might draw fewer eyes than last weekend’s main event with the former unified junior middleweight world champion, Julian “J-Rock” Williams.
The only fight that could make sense in terms of a unification bout could be if Adames fought the winner of Erislandy Lara versus Danny Garcia, who are fighting at a catchweight for the WBA middleweight title - but even then, would these two legends of the sport look to fight a young world champion, or opt for a fight against someone closer to their own age after this bout?
If Adames can’t land a big fight at middleweight, which is hard to see a big fight that could be made there, it appears his team is more than willing to move up and roll the dice against some of the biggest names in the sport.
He Is The Opportunity
If Adames stays in the middleweight division. It is quite clear that at least in the Premier Boxing Champions, and Showtime universe of boxing - Adames becomes the opportunity. This was made extremely clear when Erickson Lubin stopped Luis Arias and called out the winner of the main event which was Adames. Lubin is a career junior middleweight, but with the belts being held by Jermell Charlo, a man who stopped him in one round, and has not fought all year - it might be better to move up and try his hand at a world title against Adames.
Adames goal of moving up - might also be to avoid becoming the guy that young fighters move up to face. In short, Adames can continue to be the hunter if he moves up to super middleweight, whereas if he stays at middleweight for the next few years, the young guns of the division such as Erickson Lubin, and Elijah Garcia are going to be gunning for him, while he has to defend his stake and claim of being the best in the division.
Adames is in a tricky situation in which he is clearly one of the best fighters in middleweight right now but also is in between eras. The previous era saw Canelo Álvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin carry the division, but with Golovkin seemingly leaving the sport, and Canelo moving up to super middleweight, the division has grown silent.
We are waiting for the next force of the division - and Adames’ team believes he is the guy. Now time will reveal who in fact will take over this iconic division.