By Isabel Corona
Chicago native Adrian Granados will be fighting with Adrien Broner this Saturday night in Cincinnati. Get to know the young boxer as he exemplifies the Dapper life and what fighting means to him.
Dapper Club: Why boxing?
Adrian Granados: It's the love of my life. I've always wanted to be a boxer ever since I could remember. My first idol was Julio Cesar Chavez. I used to always be at the family parties watching and trying to imitate him.
DC: How did you start?
AG: I actually started in high school. I used to get into a lot of fights. My friends who were all my compatriots there all got transferred or in trouble so my sophomore year I was one of the only Hispanics and I started getting into fights. And I was winning the fights so they told me that I should meet with Brother Peter, the history teacher at the time, and he teaches boxing so he taught me how to defend myself but then he noticed the talent in me and he said I should actually do this. He took me to a gym and after my first spar he said, “You're ready to fight right now.” I went to a state tournament and won the state tournament and now twelve years after I'm still boxing.
DC: Why did you pick Garfield Park?
AG: Nine years ago David Diaz was defending the world title with Manny Pacquiao and they needed some fast young hands with good feet and they actually asked me and my friend who passed away, Ed Brown. We were both very hot amateurs at the time trying out for the Olympics. They had us here and it was a great experience. George [Hernandez] was a full time trainer and full time boxing coach so he had the time. My trainer at the time had a full time job so he told me I deserved the full time treatment so I started with George.
DC: How would you describe your journey?
AG: A roller coaster. It has not been easy. I've had one of the more tumultuous careers. I've been through lawsuits with promoters, I've dealt with the scar on my face [from when] I got jumped by some gang, a broken foot, and torn rotator cuff. Just a lot of petty setbacks. A lot of robberies too. I have four losses and two draws and really, considering all the losses I would say I only have one. All the other ones were just controversial decisions but although I've been on the shorter end of a lot of them, it's made me have a lot thicker skin and be a lot tougher and I think that's what's making me ready for this fight.
DC: What are your core values?
AG: Never quit, never say die, hard work all the time. I've never gone into a fight where I'm out of shape. I should never lose because I'm out of shape. Only reason why I should lose is that the other guy is better that day.
DC: Tell us a little more about Ed Brown.
AG: He was my little brother. He was my best friend in boxing. Every time we saw each other it was just big smiles from both of us. We were like little kids. We were always excited for the fights We'd be like, 'did you hear about this fight' and 'yeah I don't know dude that's a tough fight right there.' It's sad that he's gone because, I mean, I miss him and I always think about him.
DC: How did you meet?
AG: We met my fifth, no, eighth fight. Eighth fight I fought his cousin. I beat his cousin in the ring and little Ed was little Ed. He was 12 years old and he was holding the spit bucket. Even after the fight I told him good job and he told me, “good fight, bro.” He was a real cool kid.
DC: What do you think he'd tell you right now?
AG: You gotta win this fight. (laughs) He was my number one motivation. Everybody who knows me, they know that closer to the fight I start getting a little more quiet because I start focusing in on the fight. At that point I really have all of my teammates talking shit and I know Ed would've been in my ear saying, "You gotta dominate this man, you gotta take his soul from him."
DC: So what do you do now? Do you just rely on his voice in your head?
AG: Definitely. I used to have a little bit of demons. I had my little problems and once he passed away, lately I felt like he got in my head and kicked it all out and said, “What's up big, bro?” because that's what he always called me.
DC: How do you pump yourself up?
AG: I really don't have to. I'm the opposite now since I've been doing it for so long. I really have to maintain that Zen character because if I get too pumped up I usually make the mistakes in the fight. when I'm more relaxed and more cool, calm, and collected everything just comes out a lot better.
DC: How do you think the Dapper Club has helped establish your style?
AG: They've really brought out what I've wanted to be and what I know that I’m capable of. Everyone who knows me knows I never buy things for myself—my family, whatever girl I'm with, my brother—I never really bought myself anything. And thanks to them, they were able to sponsor me and give me a way to look the way I always knew I could have. I had a bunch of compliments from everybody. I was blown away by it because I realized my potential too and the confidence that they gave me definitely makes me feel good.
DC: Describe your style.
AG: Old school, clean cut. Clean cut always. I never had any tattoos, never thought about them. Just an old school Mexican look
DC: Do you usually decide what music the gym plays?
AG: Anybody who knows me knows I'm definitely a hip hop fanatic. Hip hop and rap. So usually it's my phone that's playing [in the gym]. Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne to Gucci to the new cats like Lud Foe and of course I was raised on Eminem and DMX but then when it's fight time I'm a total ranchero. I love corridos I listen to puro Vicente. I always come out with Vicente Fernandez. I got to get the Mexican crowd into the fight since I was raised by Chavez. Once I hear the Mexican music during fight time it just gives me more motivation.
DC: Would you say you're really connected with your Mexican roots?
AG: Big time, big time yeah. I stay true to that.
DC: What your least favorite workout?
AG: Everything. (laughs) No, I'm okay with it especially once it's fight time. Once I get going it's game over. I'm ready to rock and roll.
DC: What's one thing you'd like people to know about the boxing world?
AG: We're never going to die. I think with the new MMA buzz, I think it's great and I think we should live together. We shouldn't bash each other. We can coexist and support each other.
The fight will air live on Showtime Saturday, Feb. 18 at 9 P.M. ET
Dapper Club images by Kevin Reodica.
In memory of Ed Brown