The show and theatrics were about 50 cent and his team in the ESPN2 Friday Night Fights. But yes, there was a main event and a world title taking place between Billy Dib and Evgeny Gradovich. While 50 Cent was the star of the show, it was Evgeny Gradovich stole the spotlight.
Dib started off strong controlling the fight with his jab using his legs to evade the pressure of the Mexican Russian. When in tight in the early rounds, Dib was digging to the body turning his opponent, getting away from the pressure. Dib was also working his uppercut that was there in the beginning of the bout.
However the bout started changing as the fight progressed. The pressure of Gradovich was taking its toll and Dib and the right hand of Gradovich was the money punch that earned Gradovich his paycheck. For most people on press row, Gradovich ran with the fight after round 3. Dib was stumbled in multiple rounds. Dib was cut from an in adverted elbow but it looked like a bull eye for Gradovich.
One thing must be said about Dib, he hung in there taking multiple right hands and extreme pressure from his challenger. There were some bad exchanged and holds at times that cost both fighters a point in the 8th round, 1st it was Gradovich being deducted a point and you could visibly see Robert Garcia, Gradovich’s trainer concerned as this might play a vital part in the decision. Later in the round, referee Eddie Claudio took a point away from Dib to even out the deductions.
Gradovich ran away with the fight as the rounds got later. Dib, no longer with steam on his punches, and legs giving away continued to eat right hands. In the 11th round, he landed a stiff jab that stumbled Gradocvich a bit looking at it closer, it looked more like a trip after the punch.
The combatants went at it in the 12th round giving it their all, Dib trying to find a miracle as it seemed he was massively behind. It was all for not as he got rocked once again by a right hand and both men made it to the bell.
Too often in boxing, the fighter with the lead promoter often gets the decisions in situations like this. When the scores were read and the first worlds that came out of the announcer’s mouth was split decision. The moans were heard loud throughout the arena. While the scores may have been off, the right guy one. The scores were 114-112 twice for Gradovich and 114-122 for Dib. ThaBoxingVoice.com scored if 116-110 for Gradovich.
For Robert Garcia, it’s a new 126 lb champion in the Academy. For Gradovich the words ‘and the new’ never felt sweeter as he was almost in tears in a prefight interview with ThaBoxingVoice because of his opportunity and the fact that he misses his baby home in Russia. For 50 cent and Dib, it’s back to the drawing board. It takes more to succeed than a name and rap performances.