Australian IBF featherweight beltholder Billy Dib informed RingTV.com on Friday that he has signed a promotional contract with TMT Promotions, the newly-formed company that will be run by recording artist 50 Cent along with Floyd Mayweather Jr. when the fighter is released from his 87-day sentence at the Clark County Detention Center on Aug. 3.
“Now that 50 Cent and Floyd have started their business, they contacted us in Australia and asked us if we would come over and speak with him,” said Dib, a 27-year-old fighter of Lebanese decent who is 34-1 with 21 knockouts.
“50 Cent has basically flown us over here, and he showed us a lot of love. I like the sound of the company. I like the people that he has signed to the company. I’m really excited about the future and what the future holds for me in boxing with this company.”
The rapper, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, provided his first public interview about the venture to RingTV.com from Las Vegas, where he said Dib and his brother and adviser, Emaid, came to terms over Chinese food at a restaurant at the Palms Casino in the wee hours of Friday morning.
“We just had some very nice Chinese food, but to me, it wasn’t about me being wined and dined. It’s just that 50 Cent has been talking with Floyd about how he wants to help me,” said Dib.
“They’re trying to help me to build my life and about how they can help to make me a better fighter and achieve more success. That’s really what I’m interested in more than the food. I like the fact that they’re saying that they can help me to improve my career as a fighter.”
In signing with TMT Promotions — which stands for “The Money Team” — Dib joins a stable that already includes super middleweight contender Andre Dirrell and former featherweight titleholder Yuriorkis Gamboa.
“What I want to do with Billy Dib is that you point out that he’s an Australian fighter, but we all recognized the IBF belt as a world title. So, what we have here is the featherweight champion. He’s a champion of the world,” said 50 Cent, noting that it was Mayweather who targeted Dib.
“Floyd has an eye. He has the knack. He can kind of point out talent and things and see things within himself that he sees in some other fighters. Floyd can pin-point something in a fighter and say, ’50, go after that,’ and he can say, ‘go and get him.’ So I went out there and I got him…Billy just wanted to be associated with true talent and to have an actual company to start off with and to be represented…”
Dib said that he first met Mayweather and 50 Cent in May of 2007, whe he decisioned Jose Alberto Gonzalez on the undercard of Mayweather’s split-decision victory over Oscar De La Hoya for the WBC’s junior middleweight crown at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“I fought on the undercard when Mayweather beat Oscar De La Hoya in the main event, and I was blessed enough to meet 50 Cent,” said Dib.
“Even though, at the time, I was fighting for Golden Boy Promotions, you know, Floyd, at the time, showed me a lot of love and respect. So now, they’ve asked us to come over here and to meet with him.”
Dib has a 14-fight winning streak that includes 10 knockouts, and has not lost since falling by unanimous decision to Steven Lueveno in his failed bid to earn the WBO’s belt in October of 2008.
Dib won the title by unanimous decision over Jorge Lacierva in July of 2011, and has defended it with knockouts of Alberto Servidei and Eduardo Escobedo in November and March, respectively.
Dib is coming off a 10-round, non-title unanimous decision over Juan Antonio Rodriguez on July 13 during which he suffered cuts over both eyes as the result of accidental head butts.
“My eyes are good. They’re healing very well. They’re not 100 percent, but they’re healing. It’s part of the sport of boxing. I basically look at them as badges of honor, you know? No one likes getting cut,” said Dib.
“I don’t mind getting cut if I get punched. But unfortunately the guy was using his head. I’m not saying that he was a dirty fighter, but accidents happen in the ring. He managed to land a few head butts that cut me up a little bit, but it’s nothign that can’t be fixed.”
Until signing with TMT, Dib said that he had been a promotional free agent.
“Well I’ve been a free agent for a long time. I’ve been a free agent for many, many years. I even launched my own company back home. I promoted all of my fights, and I promoted my world title fight,” said Dib.
“So I just think that I’ve been a free agent and I’ve been fighting anywhere and everywhere. But now, I feel like I’m going to be part of a family and a promotional company that’s going to look after me for the next, however many years.”
Photo by Ed Mulholland, Fightwireimages.com
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org