By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Frank Galarza has prepared himself to change his entire career Saturday night.
The junior middleweight from Brooklyn knows that if he upsets Carlos Adames on the Terence Crawford-Amir Khan undercard at Madison Square Garden, he’ll move into position to fight for a 154-pound title. The Dominican Republic’s Adames (16-0, 13 KOs) is favored to beat Galarza (20-2-2, 12 KOs), but the 33-year-old Galarza is anxious to prove he has grown from his losses to Jarrett Hurd and Ishe Smith.
The Galarza-Adames match will be one of five fights ESPN2 will start televising at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT. The ESPN Pay-Per-View portion of the Crawford-Khan card is set to start at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT ($69.95 in HD).
“I feel like I’ve paid all of my dues,” Galarza told BoxingScene.com. “If this is one more debt I have to pay to get a title shot, then I’m there. The goal for me after winning this fight Saturday, I feel like I’ve paid enough dues in this sport to get a title shot. Everybody I’ve fought has had title shots. You go from John Thompson, all the way down to Jarrett Hurd. Most of the people I’ve fought have had title shots.
“I’ve never had a title shot my entire career. I’ve never even been offered any kind of title shot, not even when I was 17-0, 18-0. I was undefeated with these guys, too, and I wasn’t even ranked. I understand what boxing is, but I’m here now. Once I make my statement Saturday, I promise you it’s gonna be a whole other level.”
Galarza was unbeaten when Hurd stopped him in the sixth round of a fight Showtime televised in November 2015 from Las Vegas. Hurd (23-0, 16 KOs) went on to win the IBF, IBO and WBA 154-pound titles.
In his following fight, Galarza lost a majority decision to Smith in a 10-rounder in September 2016, also in Las Vegas.
“To be honest with you, it was expected,” Galarza said of his loss to Smith. “It was my fault. I started off a little slow. I was coming off a loss to Jarrett Hurd. I lost to him by one point, technically, so the judges had – I was under the impression of, ‘I’m in Vegas. What did you expect, really?’ I was happy to be back on that platform again, to fight a veteran like Ishe Smith. You know, much respect to him, as far as what he’s done career-wise. He’s never been no slouch. He’s an awkward fighter. It was a great experience for me. I took that and I just ran with it. I understand, again, what needs to be done in the ring.”
The 24-year-old Adames has displayed power since promoter Bob Arum began showcasing him last May 12 on the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Jorge Linares undercard at Madison Square Garden. He’ll return to The Garden on Saturday night in hopes of moving himself into position for a title shot.
“I think he’s young, I think he’s strong and he comes to fight,” Galarza said. “He’s hungry. You’ve got to respect a guy who’s gonna come to fight. He’s undefeated, so he’s got a lot to protect. Honestly, I’m happy that we were able to get this fight. It should be a good one.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.