Tonight's edition of ESPN Friday Night Fights turned out pretty well, considering the original main event was lost due to Allan Green Being Allan Green, which is like Manny Being Manny except with bad Chinese food part of the equation, leading to the more glaring and regrettable absence of light heavyweight prospect Eleider Alvarez, a talented young fighter who could have used whatever career boost there is in FNF exposure these days.
In the makeshift main event, 50 Cent's red ribbon fighter Billy Dib rebounded to some degree from his world title loss to Evgeny Gradovich, beating a scrappy Mike Oliver over 10 rounds, despite losing two points early in the fight for low blows that resulted in the veteran Oliver rolling around on the canvas in agony that was either genuine or a clever bit of trickery designed to lure Dib into the upset DQ loss. It's hard to tell, because one can never be sure about the exact location of a low (or maybe not so low) blow in boxing, even with slow motion replays, unless it's truly outrageous, and this didn't quite reach that level. And for another thing, they're not my nuts getting punched or punched too close to, either, so I can't say with any certainty how Oliver's testicles were really feeling.
Dib (36-2, 21 KO) has apparently decided to adopt a more reckless, fan-friendly approach in the ring. This doesn't make him an action fighter by any means, but it does appear unlikely we'll see any more travesties like his 2008 fight with Steven Luevano, which was by any measure a truly horrendous non-event.
If Dib had the actual power that his inflated KO percentage indicates, he should and likely would have stopped Oliver (25-4, 8 KO), who lost for the first time as a professional while also reaching the end of the fight. In his prior defeats to Reynaldo Lopez, Antonio Escalante, and Juan Manuel Lopez, the chinny Oliver was finished off within three rounds.
Dib took pretty much as good as he dished out in this one, a surprise to most who expected that Oliver, the hometown fighter but also a guy who hadn't fought in a year and a half and had been very vulnerable in the past. It was assumed that Dib would plow through Oliver, "looking good" in the process, and target the rematch with Gradovich, which he has stated is his top priority.
Just before the scores were read, resulting in a majority decision win for Dib (96-92, 96-92, 94-94), the smiling Aussie said that he was coming for Gradovich. If this is the level at which Dib faces Gradovich -- assuming that fight happens, as Gradovich isn't exactly an elite fighter just because he beat Dib -- he would have to be considered a solid underdog. It's nice that Dib isn't quite as tedious to watch as he used to be, but that has also made him easier to hit. He has proven to have a pretty solid chin to this point in his career, but if a better fighter than Oliver had been in there tonight, would we even be talking about Dib facing Gradovich again?
The night's featured undercard bout was a bumped eight round lightweight affair between 26-year-old Mark "Too Sharp" Davis and Robert Osiobe, who talked to one another at the weigh-in, indicating some serious beef, natch. Davis wasn't really as sharp as his nickname, and he certainly was no Mark Johnson in there, but he got the win on scores of 78-74, 78-74, and 77-75, which were fair enough tallies, improving to 17-0 (5 KO).
I admittedly know nothing more about Davis than I saw tonight, but I did see some Twitter rumors and whatnot that "boxing people" consider Davis a "headcase." All I know is that he barks a lot when he punches, and he talks a lot when he doesn't. Osiobe (14-6-4, 6 KO) had moments in the first round and the last two, but for the most part it was the cleaner work of Davis that carried the fight.