By Derek Bonnett
For the third time in his last four fights, Billy “The Kid” Dib laced up his gloves in The Constitution State in search of victory in a professional prize ring. The former featherweight champion first traveled to Connecticut to defend his IBF featherweight title against Evgeny Gradovich in March of 2013, but the title ended up leaving his waist after a split decision loss at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods Resort. Dib rebounded later that July with a ten round majority win over Connecticut’s Mike Oliver in Hartford. After failing to regain the IBF featherweight championship against Gradovich in Macao, S.A.R., China late last year, Dib hoped to get 2014 off to a good start by returning to Foxwoods to meet Alberto Garza in a ten round super featherweight bout. Michael Farenas versus Mark Davis took center stage in a twelve round super featherweight contest on the special Wednesday edition of Friday Night Fights.
The main event produced a “behind the woodshed” beating that truly pitted a boy versus a man. In spite of all his flash, Mark Davis simply could not deter the charging Farenas, who rocked his unbeaten foe at will. For eight rounds, Farenas assaulted Davis with massive left hooks to the body and head. The action was so similar round to round that the fight could have been viewed as one continuous frame. To his credit, Davis took Farenas’ best and attempted to comeback with flashy flurries. The difference in the two fighters’ punches was the equivalent of being hit with a sledgehammer and a handful of salt. Round five just might have been the Round of the Year as the two men went toe to toe until Farenas put Davis on wobbly legs for the last thirty seconds of the fight.
Davis elicited much praise from the Connecticut crowd for his bravery. However, it appeared as though his corner was doing him a disservice by not pulling him out of there sooner. Steve Smoger watched Davis closely and gave him plenty of opportunity to mount his own attack. The end came at the :59 mark of round eight as Farenas punished Davis with a hard left hook which sent him reeling across the ring. The crowd applauded both the effort and the stoppage.
Farenas, Gubat, Philippines, raises his ledger to 37-4-4 (29) and moved into the number two spot for the IBF 130-pound strap. Davis was pummeled to 18-1 (5).
The co-feature saw Billy Dib get back to his winning ways with a harder than necessary unanimous decision win over Alberto Garza. The opening round started off with both men trying to maul their way on the inside. Garza managed to land the better shots and Dib left the first three minutes with abrasions around both eyes and a cut that looked to be behind the ear. Dib started the second with some wiser work behind the jab. The right hand began to find a home for the Aussie former world champion. Garza punched to the chest and both worked the body with uppercuts and hooks. Dib’s jab became a great set-up for the right hand. Dib was warned for going low in the third after the two men traded hooks. Garza rocked Dib with an uppercut, but the former champion rallied back with a nice overhand right. After three, Dib led 2-1 on SecondsOut’s card.
Before the bout, Dib told SecondsOut that this fight was about having fun. In round four, Dib appeared to be having some fun for the first time. His legs looked fresh as he bounced around the ring landing single jabs. He timed a perfect left hook to the chin of Garza. The tough Mexican still tried to work his way inside to grind down his opponent. The right hands by Dib subsided and he began finding greater success with the left hook. The fifth started with Garza taking backward steps for the first time. The pace slowed and Garza’s punches widened as Dib looked to counter. Billy’s timing off the jab was excellent, but he was not committed to using it. Garza’s punches lost some steam by the sixth. He was awakened by a big left hook from Dib and his punch volume improved. Garza punched well and caught Dib coming inside, but, instead of finishing, he started holding and hitting on the break. Garza lost a point for low blows in a round he was surely winning. Dib’s lead grew to 4-1-1 on the SecondsOut card.
Dib started the seventh with a speedy triple jab. Garza managed to stun Dib with a right-left. He followed it with another right to Dib’s chin to win his biggest round. Dib got his left hook working again and he continued to grind at the body. Garza’s punches were caught mostly on the guard. A right hook put Garza back on his heels before be returned fire with his own wild one-two. Garza pushed Dib to the canvas out of frustration after losing another round. Dib swept the final two rounds with a repeated attack of left hooks and right hands. Garza opened up with some success, but his punches lacked the pop and precision of Dib’s.
Dib prevailed 7-2-1 on SecondsOut’s unofficial tally. The official cards read 98-91 and 96-93 twice. Australia’s Dib raised his ledger to 37-3 (21). Garza fell to 26-8-1 (21).