BACK in November 2015, tough and seasoned light-welterweight contender Adrian Granados pulled off one of 2015’s big upsets in derailing heavily hyped Don King fighter Amir Imam. Granados of Cicely, Illinois tore up the script and, after getting up from a first-round knockdown, stopped Imam via eighth-round TKO.
Improving to 17-4-2 (12) the 26-year-old – who has been the victim of some debatable decisions during his seven-and-a-half year pro career – says he will now conquer the world in 2016.
Here the warrior known as “Tigre” speaks exclusively with Boxing News:
Q: Belated congratulations on the big win over Amir Imam in November. Would you say that was both the biggest win of your career and your career-best performance?
Adrian Granados: “Yeah, definitely. It was just a great win and I really liked the way I put it all together, with my team and my family and everything.”
Q: There was a lot of hype surrounding Imam, with his promoter Don King going as far as saying his fighter would beat Floyd Mayweather Jnr. You saw through the hype?
A.G: “Yeah. I saw a good fighter, a strong fighter. I only watched one or two tapes of him, that’s all I watch [before a fight] now; I feel a fight out as it goes. But he’s a tremendous talent, it was just that I knew what I could do, what I had in store for him. I wanted to see what happened when I got in there with him.”
Q: What’s next for you or is it still too early here in January?
A.G: “We have a couple of options. We’ve been offered some fights and some promoters want me to go with them. It’s really a day by day thing. We’ll have to see what the best options are. There’s no real rush but I am back in the gym. This win has given my career a big resurgence and I want to be ready for the next one. Spring sounds good, maybe March or April.”
Q: You have been matched tough your whole pro career and you have taken a number of fights on short notice. Was the Imam fight short notice for you?
A.G: “Yeah, it was short notice as well. I had around four weeks. But the fight was on and off two weeks before that, luckily for me, and I was in the gym then. My family really stuck by my side [in the lead-up to the fight] and when I got the call that the fight was definite, I pulled over and thanked God. I said I’m going to dedicate my life to boxing and really focus. I always had a [day] job to do and that was kind of a distraction. Now I’m ready to become world champion. I’m in a great division at 140-pounds, with a lot of great fighters, and I’m right up in there.”
Q: You have lost four and drawn two, yet they were all close fights and the losses were either split or majority verdicts. Do you feel anyone has legitimately beaten you?
A.G: “I tell people, the loss to Frankie Gomez (back in 2011 at lightweight] was [legitimate]. I have a lot of respect for him. That fight was really too soon for me, I’d only had seven fights (according to BoxRec, Granados was 8-1-1 going into the Gomez fight). There were other issues, like with the gloves I wasn’t happy with. And the fight was very close, I think I might have scraped a draw. But that loss was fair and square, even though people come up and tell me I won, which is nice..”
Q: Which points loss bothers you the most, the one to Brad Solomon?
A.G: “Yeah, I almost called it quits in boxing, that was almost the final straw. The last round I had him hugging on for dear life, he was really out on his feet. [After that loss] I really thought, ‘this is why good fighters quit.’ But now I have a resurgence in my career and new management and I haven’t lost since.”
Q: How long have you been working with trainer Buddy McGirt?
A.G: “It was the first time, in the Solomon fight. But my cut man, George Hernandez, had worked a lot with him. George is still my cut man and also my head trainer and Buddy is his assistant; and what a great assistant. So he [Hernandez] has more time to look at things other than cuts. I have a great team around me and it is a team effort. And my family, my mother and father, and my brother, who researches all my opponents, they really help me.”
Q: Is 2016 going to be your year? You have certainly paid your dues. Is this the year your hard work really pays off?
A.G: “Yes, definitely. I have big aspirations. I’m ready for the top names at 140. It’s awesome that all my hard work is coming to fruition. I’m really coming with a vengeance and I want the world title this year.”
Q: One fight that is not on your official record is a win over Jesus Soto Karass in a BKB fight. When was that fight?
A.G: “It was two weeks after the Solomon fight, June or July (of 2015). I was prepared for the fight. Going in, it was all about him, the clips shown were his highlights and I was there to lose. I’m always confident ahead of all my fights, but before that one, I was really smirking, thinking how he didn’t have any idea what was in store for him. It was a unanimous points win, a commanding win for me.”
Q: Is there any possibility of a rematch with Imam, has there been talk of it?
A.G: “There has been [talk]. I don’t know if it will be straight away; the rematch will always be there and I will give him one. But I’ll have to see which are the better options for me [first.]”