Carlos Adames picked up the biggest win of his career on Saturday night. The Dominican fighter outworked former unified junior middleweight champion Julian Williams before scoring a ninth-round TKO to retain his interim WBC middleweight crown. The stoppage wasn't without some controversy, but Adames again showed why many consider him one of the most dangerous fighters in the middleweight division.
Williams tried to open up by boxing, limiting Adames' ability to get inside and throw with power. That served him well in the early stages of the first round as Adames tried to solve the puzzle of closing distance to let his hands go.
It didn't take long for Adames to figure out the solution, rattling Williams with a hard straight left and follow-up shot.
With it clear that simply trying to manage distance and box was not going to be a long-term solution for Williams, he sat down on his shots and began to land some meaningful power punches to gain Adames' respect as a true fight began to break out.
Unfortunately for Williams, the fight turning into something of a shootout was to Adames' advantage as his punching power and volume increasingly took over the fight. As the fight turned into a close-quarters brawl, Adames also began to blast to Williams' body with hard shots, slowing down the former unified world champion as Adames began to fully seize control.
To his credit, Williams continued to fight hard, having occasional moments of landing strong shots, especially in Round 8, with Adames slowing a bit in both punch speed and offensive output.
Just as it seemed Williams was fighting his way back into the fight, Adames turned up his output. In the ninth round, Adames began to connect cleanly with frequency, leaving Williams hurt and frequently clinching to try and slow down the assault. While Williams still seemed to be active and effective enough to continue, the referee jumped in to stop the bout, even as Williams held a high guard and was punching back.
Despite Williams' corner being livid at the stoppage, there was nothing to be done and Adames was well in control of the action at the time of the stoppage. Adames made it clear after the fight that he felt the stoppage was appropriate.
"That's why the referee stopped it," Adames said while watching a replay of the final moments of the bout. "I came with the two rights and if I hit him with another one, he could have been really hurt."
Unsurprisingly, Williams strongly disagreed with the referee's actions.
"I think it was a terrible stoppage, but what can I do?" Williams said. "I'm healthy ... I feel it was a terrible stoppage. He was getting tired but what can I do?"
Adames retained his interim WBC middleweight title with the win and could soon find himself as a full world champion. WBC champion Jermall Charlo has not fought in more than two years and is rumored to be moving to super middleweight to challenge undisputed champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in his next outing.
Should that happen, it's possible the WBC would decide to take the belt off of Charlo and promote Adames to world champion. Adames had little to say about what the next step in his career will be.
"I'm a warrior," Adames said. "Now I'm going to rest for a little bit and then we'll see what's next."