By Derek Bonnett Ringside: Neophyte boxing promoter Curtis Jackson, 50 Cent, celebrated his birthday at the Hartford Convention Center with his SMS production on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. The July 5 card featured former world champion Billy Dib’s first comeback since losing his title in March. Super Six Substitute Allan Green weighed in eight pounds over the weight limit for his scheduled bout with Eleider Alvarez and later pulled out of the contest for alleged digestive discomfort. The last minute schedule change bumped Dib into the main event and allowed for some local talent to be featured on the broadcast.
In the featured bout, Mike Oliver started with a fast pace to remind the favored former champion he was in a fight. Dib started slowly and felt his opponent out while he laid the foundation for a win with some good bodywork. Dib, usually prone to rough tactics, resisted the urge when Oliver got him tied up in the corner and threw a few shots while they were tied up. Dib kept an easy pace throughout the second and Oliver slowed from the first. Dib still worked the body while Oliver began to find his timing. Oliver rocked Dib with a leaping right hook. Dib’s knees buckled. Soon after, Oliver took a knee following some alleged low blows. The former contender appeared to be doing a little acting, but after a few laps and a quick rest on the canvas, he was ready to continue.
The third round began with some rough tactics as Dib dumped a leaning Oliver to the canvas. Dib, still looking to break Oliver’s body, was penalized one point for going low. A left hook from Oliver stunned Dib late in the third round, but did not follow-up over the last moments of the frame. Dib had his best round in the fourth as he grinded Oliver along the ropes and worked his to the body and arms with hooks. Oliver fell to the canvas twice, but the referee did admonish Dib as Oliver seemed to be trying to elicit.
The fifth resembled the fourth with Dib applying the pressure and Oliver trying to counter off the ropes. Dib’s worked seemed more effective. Dib started the sixth with his jab. Oliver resorted to bending at the waist every time Dib got in close to punch. Oliver hot-dogged after a few Dib connects and then tried to win over the crowd with an ineffective shoe-shine. By far, Dib was the more productive aggressor with greater activity.
Oliver started the seventh with a clean uppercut off the ropes, but spent too much time with his hands still while Dib worked him over with hooks from both sides. The same sequence repeated for most of the round, but Oliver could not manage to land cleanly. Dib finished the round with a nice left hook. The pace of the eighth slowed, but Dib remained in control with his steadier pressure. He closed the round with a series of hooks that partially connected.
Oliver slipped the canvas again early in the ninth after leading with his head. Dib was reduced to mauling and wrestling his foe. Oliver focused mostly on tying him up along the ropes. The final round saw Oliver connect with a sharp left in the opening seconds. He continued to fight off the ropes with his greatest success of the bout, raking Dib with short hooks and uppercuts. The former champion seemed to take the round off and allowed Oliver an easy round in his hometown.
The judges in Connecticut favored Australia’s Billy Dib by majority decision. Two judges scored the bout 96-92 to oppose a score of 94-94. Dib elevated his dossier to 36-2-1 (21). Oliver fell to 25-4 (8).