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Crawford vs Khan: Carlos Adames ready to step up when called

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Carlos Adames headlines the prelim portion of Saturday’s Crawford-Khan card.

Carlos Adames v Alejandro Barrera Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Dominican junior middleweight Carlos Adames returns to the ring this Saturday, headlining the Crawford-Khan prelim broadcast on ESPN2, which starts at 6 pm ET from New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Adams, 24, has been featured on a trio of recent Top Rank cards, with somewhat mixed results. He beat Alejandro Barrera by decision last May on the Lomachenko-Linares card, with Barrera plenty competitive and opening up questions about Adames’ true upside.

He’s followed that with a TKO-2 win over Joshua Conley on October’s Crawford-Benavidez show, and then a third round knockout of Juan Ruiz on Jan. 18, part of the Jennings-Rivas undercard.

Adames is now 16-0 (13 KO), and on Saturday he’ll face 33-year-old Brooklyn fighter Frank Galarza. You may remember Galarza (20-2-2, 12 KO) from a ShoBox main event with an unknown kid named Jarrett Hurd in 2015. Galarza was the favorite, but Hurd stopped him in six. Hurd, of course, has gone on to win two titles and become arguably the top 154-pound fighter in the sport.

Galarza followed that up with a majority decision loss to Ishe Smith in Sept. 2016, and has won three in a row since then against mediocre opposition. At this point, he’s seen as a stepping stone, a prospect tester at best, and that’s what he’s booked to do on Saturday against Adames. Galarza is no star fighter, but he’s good enough to expose Adames if Adames isn’t on point, or isn’t what he’s hoped to be.

Adames knows this is another test along the way for him, and says he’s ready to step up the competition, letting Top Rank decide when to do that.

“This is pretty much the fight that I need to get myself ready for the bigger fights. But I’m ready for any challenge or title fight coming up. Whenever they say I’m ready, I’m fine with it.”

There have been some changes for Adames heading into this fight. He’s now working with famed trainer Robert Garcia, who says Adames has skills like fellow Dominicans Joan Guzman and Argenis Mendez, but says the difference is that Adames’ power is “insane.”

We’ll see where Adames is at on Saturday. 154 is a competitive division right now, with a lot of talent and some actual depth past the top few fighters. Adames is looking to join that party, and Galarza is the next step.