All of the invited guests didn’t show up for “50 Cent’s Birthday Bash,” and the party didn’t run smoothly throughout the night.
Though 50 Cent’s fighter, Billy Dib defeated Mike Oliver to cap off his first solo promotion as head of SMS Promotions, the problem was the h’orderves wound up becoming the main course.
Mere hours prior to the ESPN2-televised offering was set to begin, it was announced that the scheduled light heavyweight main event of Eleider Alvarez and Allan Green was cancelled. Fears of this began to surface a day prior, when Green showed up six pounds over the contracted weight limit, and were confirmed for even more bizarre reasons. Green, a former world title challenger at super middleweight, reportedly came down with food poisoning, and was taken to a local Hartford hospital in an ambulance.
Luckily, the show had a former titlist in Dib slated in the co-feature who was able to give the night some cache.
Unfortunately, more bad luck nearly spoiled the party entirely.
Dib, 27, Sydney, Australia came charging after Oliver from the opening bell, perhaps trying to live up to his pre-fight declaration that he was going to knock his opponent “flat out cold.” The overt aggression backfired in the second frame, as he was immediately penalized for a low blow.
Despite the deduction, Dib (36-2, 21 knockouts) continued to bend unusually low on the inside and yet another shot strayed below Oliver’s beltline in the third round, causing a second penalty and final warning.
It was the final warning that clearly forced the recent IBF featherweight titlist to make the adjustment that would win him the fight. One more low blow would cost him the match, so without any leeway, Dib stood more upright and in doing so, got more leverage on his punches.
The 32-year old Oliver (25-4, 8 KOs) was craftier than most thought, and though the “Machine Gun” didn’t quite have powerful enough ammo, he was able to connect with a right hook regularly on his more vertical opponent. Those eye-catching shots were enough to amazingly, keep the fight’s outcome in question until the scorecards were read.
In the end, judge Carlos Ortiz scored the fight a draw, while Glen Feldman and Don Trella saw the bout 96-92 in favor of Dib.
Nobody will be particularly impressed with the quality of Dib’s performance against a faded club fighter, however he showed a more “television friendly” brawling style for a second consecutive ESPN appearance. The same type of approach perhaps caused his title loss to Evgeny Gradovich this past March, but it could have been vulnerable and entertaining enough on this night to warrant him a rematch with the Russian.
In the new co-feature of the evening, super featherweight prospect Mark Davis remained undefeated with a unanimous decision victory over Robert Osiobe. Scores were 77-75, and 78-74 (twice).
Due to the telecast reshuffling, Osiobe and Davis were forced to enter the ring significantly earlier than originally planned, as the scheduled first swing bout. This didn’t figure to work in Davis’ favor, as he hadn’t been in active competition since November of 2011. Instead, it was his torrid start that wound up winning him the fight.
After an expected tentative first round between two former sparring partners, the normally flashy and defensive Davis erased the scouting report and started walking Osiobe down. The Cleveland, OH native scored well with lead left hooks, and remained accurate with his jab throughout the night.
In the sixth round, Osiobe, 35, Las Vegas, NV, turned the tide with a counter right hand after Davis left his jab hanging a tad too long. The openings kept coming for the veteran, as Davis waded in with his head low in the seventh, leaving a lane for a right uppercut that opened a gash above his right eye.
Though Osiobe arguably won the final frame as well, it wasn’t enough to make up for his slow start, and the overall activity of his younger foe throughout the contest.
With the win, Davis improves to 17-0 with five knockouts, while Osiobe slips to 14-5-4.
Corey Erdman is a staff writer for RingTV.com, a host at Fight Network in Canada, and a regular commentator for WealthTV. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @corey_erdman.