The toy versions with unpulled pins designed to not blow things out of proportion were tossed instead, as tragedy dominated hype.
In a recent media conference call to promote their February 18 clash at Xavier University's Cintas Center (9 pm ET on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING), Adrien Broner (32-2, 24KOs) and Adrian Granados (18-4-2, 12KOs) will clash at a fork in the road.
It's a real gut-check for Granados, for not only will he be fighting in front of Broner's hometown mob in Cincinnati, but he'll also be going to war after losing comrade Ed Brown.
Brown, a rising pro fighter and best friend of the fellow Chicago native, was gunned down via head blast in the senseless Windy City war while sitting in a parked car with his 19 year-old female cousin. That event will undoubtedly add another element of drama tthis week, as Brown, who'd also been shot during Broner's camp for Marcos Maidana back in 2013 (in which Granados had helped him prepare), was a talented – but troubled – fighter very familiar to Broner.
“I knew him since the amateurs. A special kind of talent… He was actually a close friend to me as well,” offered Broner. “But at the end of the day, like I told Adrian in his camp, its just some people– you can't save everybody.”
Both fighters reflected before focusing on the objective of dealing with each other next Saturday.
“He (Broner) came through. He was there for me just like I was there for him, during his scare on social media when everybody was worried about him,” said Granados, recalling Broner's apparent suicidal mind state in October 2016. “He was there for me too, during the tragic loss of my good friend Ed Brown.”
Broner returns to the ring after a 9th round mugging of Ashley Theophane in Washington, D.C. last April, and is his first fight in Cincy since a comprehensive beating of Emmanuel Taylor in September 2014. Despite picking up the WBA super lightweight title over Khabib Allakhverdiev in October 2015, what everyone remembers was his last high profile encounter with Shawn Porter.
A somewhat lethargic Broner was bullied for most of that showdown, on the way to dropping a UD despite being more skilled. It's a fight that still pisses AB off, and he knows anything short of a spectacular performance (or a loss) on Showtime can ice another elite level title shot.
“I'm trying to be sharp. Business is business. I got love for AG but I'm looking to get him out of there,” dropped Broner, when I spoke to him at Barclays for Jack v DeGale last month. That mindset hasn't changed weeks later.
“If you looked at my last two fights, you know nobody never stopped Khabib. Nobody never stopped Ashley. If I have a chance to stop Adrian Granados, then I'm going to take it.”
For Granados, who was especially impressive in stopping Amir Imam in November 2015, he knows an upset over the likes of Broner can catapult him to high profile fights.
“I've been going through hell this past year waiting on a big fight and finally, I got one,” said Granados. “We do have a friendship and mutual respect, but we know we're not into team sports and there can only be one. I think I'm the better fighter and we're going to find out.”
The calm before the storm.