Welterweight Carlos Adames, who signed with Top Rank in late February, will have the first fight of his new promotional contract in a big spot.
Adames will take on Alejandro Barrera on May 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York in the co-feature of the Top Rank on ESPN card headlined by lightweight world champion Jorge Linares’ highly anticipated defense against pound-for-pound king and junior lightweight titlist Vasiliy Lomachenko, Top Rank announced on Tuesday.
The scheduled 10-round fight will open the telecast (ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 8 p.m. ET). The entire card will stream live on the ESPN App beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Adames (13-0, 11 KOs), 23, of the Dominican Republic, caught the eye of undefeated Top Rank star Terence Crawford, the former undisputed junior welterweight world champion, and his trainer, Brian McIntyre, when he sparred with Crawford in 2017. That led to Adames’ eventual signing with the company.
Adames, reportedly 240-22 as an amateur, stopped 2004 Venezuelan Olympian Patrick Lopez in the fourth round in April 2016. In February 2017, he scored a second-round knockout of 2004 Venezuelan Olympian Jean Carlos Prada. And in July, Adames scored his biggest victory, a near-shutout 11-round unanimous decision over former junior middleweight world titlist Carlos Molina, whom he knocked down.
Up next for Adames is the experienced Barrera (29-4, 18 KOs), 31, of Mexico, who upset Eddie Gomez by split decision in July in between a pair of losses — a fifth-round knockout by Errol Spence Jr. in November 2015 and a 10-round majority decision to KeAndre Gibson in October.
Adames aims to impress against Barrera in his first wide television exposure.
“I have a message for all the boxing fans: Set your alarms and mark your calendars for May 12 because I am going for the knockout,” Adames said. “I am very happy to be debuting with Top Rank. This will be a great step in my career, and on May 12, I will put the welterweight division on notice.”
A slew of former Olympians will round out the ESPN App portion of the card.
Two-time Irish Olympian Michael Conlan (6-0, 5 KOs), with a large fan following in New York’s Irish community, will face Ibon Larrinaga (10-1, 2 KOs), of Spain, in an eight-round featherweight fight.
Conlan sold out the smaller Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden for his pro debut on St. Patrick’s Day eve in 2017 and drew nearly 5,000 to the venue for a win on this year’s St. Patrick’s Day. This will be his first fight in the main arena
Las Vegas lightweight Teofimo Lopez Jr. (8-0, 6 KOs), who was on the 2016 Honduras Olympic team representing the home country of his parents and who has emerged as one of the best prospects in boxing, will face Vitor Jones Freitas, of Brazil, in an eight-round fight. Jones Freitas (14-1, 8 KOs) is the nephew of Brazilian legend and former junior lightweight and lightweight world titleholder Acelino “Popo” Freitas.
“What better way to come back in 2018 than on a card like this,” Lopez said. “We all know what happened last time I fought at the Garden, and I look forward to doing it again. I know what the atmosphere is going to be like, and I’m just excited to display my skills on a big platform.”
Last May, Lopez scored a second-round knockout win at the Garden on the Crawford-Felix Diaz undercard.
Lightweight Jamel Herring (16-2, 9 KOs), of Coram, New York, a 2012 U.S. Olympian and a former U.S. Marine who served two tours of duty in Iraq, will face Juan Pablo Sanchez (30-15, 14 KOs), of Mexico, in an eight-round bout. The fight will be the first for Herring, who is trained by McIntyre and friends with Crawford, since signing with Top Rank.
“I’m happy to be coming back home because I haven’t fought in New York since 2013,” Herring said. “To be on a great card like this, it’s a huge honor. With my new trainers and ‘Bud’ (Crawford), it’s a blessing. ‘Bud’ wants to see me do better and succeed. He criticizes me as a lot, but I take it as constructive criticism. It’s a great feeling being around somebody with that much experience who also wants to see you succeed.”
Junior welterweight Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (3-0, 1 KO), who won Olympic gold in 2016 for Uzbekistan, will face Jesus Silveyra (8-5-2, 3 KOs), of Mexico, in an eight-round fight. Gaibnazarov will be fighting for the first time since a shoulder injury sidelined him in September.
Lightweight Mikaela Mayer (4-0, 3 KOs), a 2016 U.S. Olympian from Los Angeles, will face Baby Nansen (6-2-1, 0 KOs), of New Zealand, in her first scheduled six-round fight. Mayer needed only 35 seconds to notch a first-round knockout of Maria Semertzoglou in her last fight on March 10 on the Oscar Valdez-Scott Quigg undercard.