NEW YORK -- Welterweight prospect Carlos Adames made his American television debut with a hard-fought unanimous decision win over Alejandro Barrera on Saturday night on the Jorge Linares-Vasiliy Lomachenko undercard at Madison Square Garden.
Adames, 24, a former amateur standout from the Dominican Republic who signed with Top Rank in February, was fighting for the first time under the new promotional contract and did not have an easy time with Barrera though he won 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94 on the judges' scorecards. ESPN.com had it 98-92 for Adames.
The fight, at a contract weight of 150 pounds, started slowly with Adames (14-0, 11 KOs) and Barrera (29-5, 18 KOs) feeling each other out, but it really picked up late in the second round as they traded recklessly in the final seconds with Adames getting the better of a violent exchange.
There were more furious exchanges throughout the entertaining fight, but Adames appeared to be the heavier puncher who was doing more damage. One left hook rocked Barrera, 31, of Mexico, in the fifth round and a right did the same in the final seconds of the round.
There was a rough exchange late in the eighth round in which Adames took some heavy shots with his back to the ropes but came back to force Barrera off of him.
"Barrera was a tough opponent, but getting the win was the most important thing, and now I can move forward to bigger fights and bigger events," Adames said. "I hurt him a few times, but he was a warrior. I congratulate him. I'm ready for the top guys in the welterweight division. I am not afraid of anyone."
Adames, who remains a work in progress, caught Top Rank's eye when he did well as a sparring partner for two-division world champion Terence Crawford, who is one of the best fighters in the world pound-for-pound. But Adames also notched a decision win over former junior middleweight world titlist Carlos Molina and a fourth-round knockout win over former Venezuelan Olympian Patrick Lopez.
Conlan easily outpoints Larrinaga
Two-time Irish Olympian Michael Conlan, with a large fan following in New York's Irish community, has sold out the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden and made his debut in the main arena by cruising to a one-sided victory against Ibon Larrinaga in their featherweight fight.
Conlan (7-0, 5 KOs), 26, won a shutout, 80-72, on all three scorecards much to the delight of his excited fans. Conlan, who had former middleweight world titleholder and Irish countryman Andy Lee as part of his corner, was aggressive from the outset and forced Larrinaga (10-2, 2 KOs), 27, of Spain, back consistently. He landed many clean right hands and body shots as he dominated round after round. Larrinaga showed a good chin the way he took so many punches but he was unable to mount any sort of consistent offense.
"It's an amazing arena and to be part of that history and be treated like part of the Madison Square Garden family is very, very special," Conlan said. "It's always going to be hard to look good against a guy who is backing up, but I'm happy because I was composed and working on things I need to work on. I've only had seven pro fights, so this was a good learning experience."
Conlan is scheduled to return to action on June 30 on an ESPN+ card in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in what will be his first pro fight in his hometown.
Lopez celebrates KO with Fortnite dance
Teofimo Lopez Jr. lands a grazing right hand that sends Vitor Freitas to the canvas and uses the "Take the L" dance from Fortnite.
Brooklyn, New York native Teofimo Lopez Jr. (8-0, 6 KOs), 20, who was on the 2016 Honduras Olympic team representing the home country of his parents, destroyed Vitor Freitas, 25, of Brazil, by first-round knockout in their lightweight fight. Now fighting out of Las Vegas, Lopez, one of boxing's best prospects, had a raucous cheering section and gave them a quick and explosive show.
Lopez nailed Freitas high on the head with a powerful right hand that knocked him down and as he struggled to get up with his equilibrium gone, referee Tony Chiarantano stopped the fight at 1 minute, 4 seconds as Lopez did a backflip and began dancing to the music being played in the arena.
"I love this. I live for this," Lopez said. "I told you guys that this is 'The Takeover.' I've been training hard and I'm always ready to put on a show for all the fans. I started throwing my jab and just connected with a solid clean hook. I have the power to hurt people. I'm not here to play."
Freitas (14-2, 8 KOs) is the nephew of Brazilian legend and former junior lightweight and lightweight world titleholder Acelino "Popo" Freitas, who was part of his corner.
Lightweight Mikaela Mayer (5-0, 3 KOs), 27, a 2016 U.S. Olympian from Los Angeles, rolled to a shutout decision against Baby Nansen (6-3-1, 0 KOs), 31, of New Zealand, in her first scheduled six-round fight. Mayer and Nansen went nose to nose at the weigh-in Friday and then Mayer routed her, 60-54 on all three scorecards.
The taller and longer Mayer rocked Nansen repeatedly with right hands in the second round and nearly dropped her with a right hand as the fourth round was ending. She continued to pour it on and the result was never in doubt.
"Quite frankly she has a good chin," Mayer said. "I was cracking her with big shots, and at times it looked like she was hurt, but she just wouldn't go away. I felt great my first time going the six-round distance and I dominated the fight. I feel awesome. I'm ready for more."
Mayer is likely to be back in action on June 30 in Belfast, Northern Ireland on an ESPN+ card that is supposed to include Conlan's homecoming fight. Top Rank wants to put Mayer on the card to introduce her to the Irish fans ahead of a possible fight down the road with unified lightweight world titleholder and Irish star Katie Taylor.
Lightweight Jamel Herring (17-2, 10 KOs), 32, a southpaw from Coram, New York, won his first fight since signing with Top Rank in January as he stopped Juan Pablo Sanchez (30-16, 14 KOs), 30, of Mexico, in the fifth round.
An accidental head butt opened a cut over Herring's right eye in the second round and by the fourth round the blood was streaming down his face.
But Herring, a 2012 U.S. Olympian and a former U.S. Marine who served two tours of duty in Iraq, didn't seem to be bothered by the blood, and in the fifth round he unloaded on Sanchez. He blasted him with a sustained flurry, including two big left hands that rocked him badly along the ropes, causing referee Chiarantano to intervene at 1 minute, 28 seconds. Herring was ahead 40-36 on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage.
"It felt great to be back in the ring. To get a stoppage against a guy who hasn't been stopped since 2012, it's a great feeling," Herring said. "The Marines, we love blood. When we smell blood, even if it's our own, we're going to go for the kill. I had to because he was coming for me. I showed a little bit of boxing. I showed I could stand there and brawl. I showed everything."
Junior welterweight Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (4-0, 2 KO), 26, who won an Olympic gold medal in 2016 for Uzbekistan, knocked out Jesus Silveyra (8-6-2, 3 KOs) 23, of Mexico, in the fourth round of a one-sided fight. Gaibnazarov was returning from left elbow surgery and he appeared fine as he lashed Silveyra with lefts throughout the bout to become the first fighter to stop him.
Gaibnazarov dropped him twice in the fourth round, first with a left-right combination and then followed moments later with clean left to the face that deposited him on his back as referee Ron Lipton waved off the fight at 2 minutes, 5 seconds without a count.
"I had a long layoff, but it felt great to get back in the ring," said Gaibnazarov, who had been out of action for eight months. "I feel I have some mistakes to correct, but I am going to continue to work hard."