The long-time 154-pound contender has set his sights on a middleweight strap but must first get past the dangerous Sergiy Derevyanchenko in a mouthwatering matchup Sunday night on SHOWTIME pay-per-view.
The path to a world championship in boxing can be like being stuck in city traffic during rush hour. Long lines, road construction and other obstacles can severely test a driver’s patience to a point where he might even question his decision to venture onto a busy highway.
For impatient fighters whose destination is stardom and its attendant perks, the bumper-to-bumper grind often comes in the form of conflicting promotional and television commitments frequently separating them from the divisional elites they hope to displace.
For Carlos Adames, the decision to take a beckoning off-ramp and plot a less-impeded route to the top seemed the most prudent, and liberating, career choice. It remains to be seen how swiftly the 27-year-old native of the Dominican Republic completes his journey, or even if he gets there at all, but for now the stop lights are fewer and he is enjoying the luxury of pressing down a bit more on the accelerator.
“It truly means a lot to me. I’m thankful to God for having opened these doors for me and allowing me to take advantage of these opportunities, or at least giving me the chance to take advantage of them,” Adames (19-1, 15 KOs) said of the expanding exposure he will receive in Sunday night when he faces Ukrainian veteran Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-3, 10 KOs) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, one of the PBC on SHOWTIME Pay Per View (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) bouts on the undercard of a title defense for world lightweight champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis (25-0, 24 KOs) against Mexico’s Isaac Cruz (22-1-1, 15 KOs).
“I plan to make the most of this chance (against Derevyanchenko),” Adames continued. “The kind of exposure I am receiving now is the reward I get for having sacrificed so much to get to this point. People don’t realize what (fighters) have to go through day in and day out to fight and win at the top level.”
The matchup with Derevyanchenko, 36, who has lost three of his last four bouts but went the 12-round distance in each instance against top-tier opponents Daniel Jacobs, Gennadiy Golovkin and Jermall Charlo, represents another hurdle Adames must clear if he is to continue motoring toward hoped-for showdowns with former 154-pound titlist Jaime Munguia (38-0, 30 KOs) and current WBC World Middleweight Champion Jermall Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs).
“I would be very glad to go up against either one, or both,” Adames said. “I want tough challenges. I want to fight against the best.”
Adames does not need to be reminded, however, that the shortest distance to disappointment today is to focus too much on what might be there tomorrow. Derevyanchenko, who now lives in and fights out of Brooklyn, has repeatedly demonstrated that he is no pushover.
“ This fight is going to be my springboard to the next level. ” Middleweight Contender - Carlos Adames
Still, to Adames he does not so much represent an end in and of itself as another stern test that must be passed as he continues to shorten the distance between where he is and where he intends to be.
“I’ve been able to see his last two or three fights,” Adames said of the man known as “The Technician,” who also fights under the PBC baner. “He’s someone who’s strong, who’s tough, who likes to keep coming forward.
“But there isn’t a single discernible weakness of his I’m looking to exploit. Mostly, I believe in my own capabilities. This fight is going to be my springboard to the next level up on my way to becoming a world champion.”
One basic fact alerted Adames and his handlers that aligning with Premier Boxing Champions could cut a lot of the red tape that prevents some of the more attractive pairings to be made. The quality of depth from 154 to 168 pounds is impressive, with many of the top-shelf performers in that weight range – twins Jermall and Jermell Charlo, Brian Castano, Erislandy Lara, Julian “J-Rock” Williams, Jarrett Hurd, Juan Macias Montiel, Erickson Lubin, Jeison Rosario and Sebastian Fundora among them – bearing the PBC imprimatur.
In his first ring appearance for PBC, Adames emphatically stopped Alexis Salazar with a wicked left hook to the body on June 26 of this year at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena, on a PPV undercard topped by Davis’ 11th-round TKO of Mario “El Azteca” Barrios which brought Davis a 140-pound world title. Adames got the gig when the scheduled Julian Williams-Brian Mendoza bout was scrubbed due to an injury suffered by Williams.
“It definitely is an advantage to be with PBC because that widens the path that I want to take, to fight the opponents that I want and need to fight,” pointed out Adames, who trains out of Washington Heights, N.Y. “We have so many more options open to us now. I am going to reward PBC for its confidence in me with hard work and dedication for every fight that I get.”
Adames presently is rated No. 9 at super welterweight by the WBC, WBA and IBF. Derevyanchenko represents a step up to 160 pounds, but a victory over the Ukrainian tough guy – especially if it’s accomplished in impressive fashion – could earn him a rating in that weight class. And as Adames acknowledges, the world championship he so covets becomes more achievable even as the fights get harder. For any fighter daring to become great, increasing risk is the toll that must be paid to get onto even a seemingly less crowded road.
For a closer look at Carlos Adames, check out his fighter page.