The narrow pathway beneath the Braehead Arena morphed into Ricky Burns' boulevard of broken dreams through the eyes of the man walking by his side.
The date was June 27, the year 2014. Not a good one for the shining beacon of Scottish boxing. Indeed, it had been over 12 months since his last victory prior to walking out of the ring and the subdued crowd behind him back to his dressing room. Pondering where to turn to next.
It was late at night and Burns had just been dealt another blow. After going all the way with the unbeaten Dejan Zlaticanin, the local hero would have a points decision go against him as the man from Montenegro claimed the vacant WBC International lightweight title. Coming just under six months after a bruising and comprehensive defeat to Terence Crawford at the SECC and nine from that controversial draw with Raymundo Beltran, the rock who had promoted Burns to the household name he is today was lost for words as he watched the fighter and friend in front of him return to his dressing room.
"I remember being in his dressing room after the loss to Dejan Zlaticanin," said Eddie Hearn, "and I was thinking: 'That’s it, you’ve got to retire.'
"I was honestly thinking: 'Come on, you don’t want to drop down to domestic or even European level. You’re done. You’ve achieved what you want, you’re a two-weight world champion.'
"His confidence had been completely broken after the fights against Terence Crawford, Ray Beltran and Zlaticanin. Now he believes again, he goes into fights believing he can win. He was a broken man after the Zlaticanin fight. And I would have put good money on not seeing him in big title fights again.
"But he won’t give in. He’s in that gym working harder than any of those young kids. I’ve never seen a transformation like this. Not at the stage of the career he was at. They don’t have a resurgence at that point. But, because he’s kept himself fit and healthy, anything is possible. Now he has a chance of the biggest night of his career – at 34."
Almost to the day, in fact.
Burns celebrated his birthday yesterday at a grand press conference in Glasgow as the spotlight falls on him as he attempts to make history once more.
With Hearn to his left, the man from Coatbridge sat at the top table just two away from Julius Indongo, the undefeated Namibian who will be his opponent in this unification contest at the super lightweight division.
It is a glorious chance for the birthday boy to add Indongo's IBF title to his WBA belt at the Hydro as he aims to become the first Scotsman to do so.
For the man who tried to help pick up the pieces almost three years ago, Hearn has faith.
He said: "The last fight at Braehead was a disaster for us. And that’s when you think, as a promoter, that not only is Ricky Burns done – but the crowd is done as well.
"We went from 8000 to 3500 at Braehead. I was thinking: “Jesus.”
"Now we’ve come back – and this will be right up there, in crowd terms, with the likes of the Crawford fight. They come out, they support their own, and they should do – because this is a massive fight for him.
"When he won the third world title, that was incredibly rewarding. But this is a bit different because I know what this means to him. When he won t his title, he phoned me up and said: 'Get me him, I’ll take this guy, I can beat him – I want another belt.' Belts matter to Ricky Burns. Going down in history matters to Ricky. So it will be a very proud moment to see him come back from what he’s been through, inside and outside of the ring."
If Burns makes it beyond Indongo, who knocked out Eduard Troyanovsky in Moscow back in December, then his road to redemption may well have another few legs left to go. The 34-year-old still hankers for a dream fight in the United States, something that he potentially could have done instead of facing the quick Namibian on home soil. Yet Hearn is sure Burns' big-stage fight across the pond would most certainly be on if he triumphs tomorrow night just across the Clyde from where it could have ended back in 2014.
"Who knows where it ends?" he said. "When he beat [Michele] Di Rocco, that was incredible. Now we’re about to have a unification fight. Now everyone is phoning up from America telling us not to do anything without speaking to them first, saying: 'If you win this fight, please talk to us next.'
"Whether it’s Crawford, [Adrien] Broner, all those guys, they’re saying the same thing. We talked after the Di Rocco win about him getting that Broner fight. With two or three belts, it makes it a certainty.
"But Ricky isn’t worrying about what comes next. He just wants to be a unified champion. There are a few chapters left in this tale, though, without a doubt. This is the most important chapter.
"You are kind of fighting for your career in a fight like this. You never want to lose. But to lose a unification bout, there’s no disgrace. To win a unification fight, to be there in the ring with all those belts at the end, it makes him a real player in boxing."