The welterweight contender says he’ll no longer have to play second fiddle when he defeats former two-division world champion Danny Garcia this Saturday on PBC on FOX.
The life of a B-side fighter presupposes a certain degree of fatalism.
Every now and again, he may surprise the oddsmakers and come up with the occasional upset. But, for the most part, he is counted on to play the specific role consigned to him by the powers that be. His job is not to win so much as it is to show up on fight night in shape and ready to put up an honest effort against the house fighter, the A-side. He understands, implicitly at the very least, that the deck is stacked against him.
Adrian Granados would know, as he has spent the past four years desperately trying to break out of the B-side mold.
“I’m the B-side. I’m always the B-side,” Granados quipped. “ But I don’t think of myself like that. Pretty much, honestly, I’m just tired of that. I appreciate the respect I get and that I’m a tough opponent and that I’ll give anybody problems, but I’m tired of that talk. It’s time to cash in on a big win.”
Granados gets his chance against Danny Garcia this Saturday in a 12-round welterweight main event at the Dignity Health and Sports Park in Carson, California on PBC on FOX (8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT).
The Garcia fight marks the third time Granados, a native of the Chicago suburb of Berwyn, Illinois, will face a top welterweight. His previous two times were a narrow, split decision loss to Adrien Broner in 2016 and a 2017 unanimous decision defeat at the hands of current WBC World Welterweight Champion Shawn Porter.
So, Granados has been part of a few marquee fights. But as he explains, part of the reality of being the B-side is that not only are you expected to lose but you are, on a systematic level, put at a disadvantage.
“I’ve gotten some opportunities now, I’m not going to lie, but they were opportunities that had a lot going against me,” Granados said. “I fought Broner in his hometown and he had two Ohio judges. I know I won that fight and the majority of the public feels like I won that fight. I fought Shawn Porter and I know they were already talking about Porter’s next fight. I will take the ‘L,’ for that one, but I did Porter have on his bicycle and running and trying to survive there at the end. So I know I went into both fights already as the loser. I knew I had to knock those guys out and those are top level opponents.”
In order to start doing that, Granados first needed to look within.
“I know that I’m not far off but there are some changes I had to make in training and now I’m stepping it up and I’m ready to get the win now,” said Granados, who began training out of Buddy McGirt’s gym in Northridge, California last year. “I’m tired of being known as the gatekeeper or an opponent, or a B-side fighter.”
To have a clearer idea of Granados’ frustrations, one must go back to November 2015 in Quebec City, when he matched up with the then hot, hard-hitting contender Amir Imam. Imam was being positioned by his promoter, Don King, to fight the WBC 140-pound champion Viktor Postol.
“ I believe I’m as good as anybody out there in the world. ” Welterweight Contender - Adrian Granados
Granados, who was then a promotional free agent with two losses on his record, was supposed to be a stepping stone. He appeared to be well on his way to becoming one when Imam knocked him down in the first round. Granados, however, dug deep and applied torrid pressure en route to a stunning eighth-round TKO win.
“Man, that was the biggest moment of my career,” Granados recalled. “That’s kind of what put me on the map and put an alert to the 140 division.”
But the euphoria did not last long.
“Ever since that fight, though, I never got another opportunity (at 140),” he said with a sigh. “It’s just politics and promoters.”
As Granados describes it, King had virtually stonewalled his career. King wanted to pursue a rematch, but Granados did not see the point. He wanted to move on. In fact, he had a contract in his hands to face Ruslan Provodnikov next, that is, until King, “through the dark side of boxing, pulled some strings and he actually got me out of that fight.” Instead, it would be John Molina who would go on to face (and defeat) Provodnikov.
“I was very upset about that,” said Granados, “Because that was a fight that I feel like I could have beat both those guys. But I was blacklisted and couldn’t get an opportunity.”
Granados had also inquired with the World Boxing Super Series about joining their inaugural 140-pound tournament, but they had already filled out their bracket.
“Pretty much after that I was on ice against all the 140 pounders, and I still am,” said Granados. “I still haven’t gotten my opportunity at 140.”
Eventually, Granados would find the right people to guide him. He linked up with Journeyman Management and signed a promotional deal with Tom Brown of TGB Promotions. The first fight offered was Broner, but, of course, there was a caveat: Granados would have to move up to welterweight. Take it or leave it.
“I can never get fights at my weight class,” Granados said. “I always gotta take these fights at 147. The only opportunities were at welterweight. That’s why I got an extra chip on my shoulder for the Garcia fight. This fight I got a lot to prove. I have to take it out of the judges’ hands. If it’s a close fight I’ll probably get robbed or it’ll be another controversial decision.”
Such is life as the B-side. But Granados is not looking for pity, excuses or any more backhanded compliments. After a brief dip back to 140 last summer to face former lightweight champion Javier Fortuna; a fight cut short and ruled a no contest when Fortuna fell out of the ring in the fourth round, Granados is now ready to take on Garcia—and perhaps the other top welterweights—with renewed resolve.
“I know I can compete at 147,” Granados said. “I’ve been at this weight a couple of years and I feel like my body has graduated to a welterweight now. I feel like it’s going to show in this fight, as a full-fledged welterweight. I believe I’m as good as anybody out there in the world.”
He just needs to start winning.
For a closer look at Garcia vs Granados, check out our fight night page.
- Garcia vs Granados