Albert Baker

The Young Master became the befuddled student as Amir “Young Master” Imam 18-1 15KOs was KO’d in an upset by Cicero, Illinois product Adrian “Tigre” Granados 17-4-2 12KO’s losing his number one contender status and his mandatory fight against super lightweight champion Viktor Postol this spring.

Imam came into the fight with an impressive fourth round knockout of journeyman Fernando Angulo, prior to that he won himself a tough ten round unanimous decision victory that was tougher than the wide scorecards showed over Walter Castillo at the Stub-Hub in California. Between the two of them, they had less than ten fights in the US and only Angulo had a fight against anyone of note in former world lightweight champion Juan Diaz and Pablo Cesar Cano; whom he lost to by unanimous decision and beat Cano by knockout.

Why is this important? It matters because you’ve been sold a bill of goods if you were on the “Imam could be great” train. I had first seen Imam at the Galen Center in Los Angeles after his impressive four round destruction of previously unbeaten Jared Robinson. The Robinson knockout was so vicious that I couldn’t miss Imam.

Last year Imam took on Fidel Maldonado Jr on the undercard of Deontay Wilder’s heavyweight title fight against Bermane Stiverne. Again, for the second time I had to be there; although this time a chink in the armor was shown as Imam was dropped and hit at will by Maldonado in a fifth round knockout victory that could have been in the fight of the year running. Imam won by savage knockout, so it was easy to forget the fact that a very limited fighter was able to land on and drop the Young Master.

Again the opportunity came to see Imam at the Stub-Hub against the previously mentioned Castillo. Again a limited fighter was able to rough up Imam in an ugly fight that was closer than the scorecards reflected. No mention in press row of how vulnerable Imam looked, only talks of his fight with Maldonado and mentions of how boring the fight with Castillo had just been.

Following the devastating knockout of Fernando Angulo, a fighter with a record of 29-9; Imam was all set to face WBC champion Viktor Postol in the spring or summer. Rather than wait for the title shot Imam took a stay busy fight over unheralded journeyman Adrian Granados, big mistake.

Imam came out sharp in the first round using his jab and dropped Granados with a hard one two. Granados apparently didn’t get the memo that he was supposed to lose, because he ratcheted up his aggression in the second round and planted himself in the chest of Imam like an Alabama tick.

With relentless pressure Granados started to break Imam down, slowly erasing the sales job done by Don King and the boys on the call for Showtime. Imam’s corner didn’t tell the Young Master to tie up the busy Granados, they just told him to get his jab working; when Imam said “the jab isn’t working” they gave the unbelievable answer of “you better make it work!” There was no plan B and Granados merely exposed what boxing media that watch live boxing as opposed to people who watch televised boxing with a healthy dose of network salesmanship see. Imam was never the next big thing he was only the last sales pitch by a boxing promoter that has seen his best days pass like the last train out of the station.

Granados has earned himself another televised fight, maybe this time the cheerleaders on the televised commentary will see the same thing everyone else does and be strong enough to offer constructive criticism rather than fawning adulation intended to build the network’s self-inflicted dwindling boxing audience.

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