Monday, July 8, 2013

Billy Dib bests Mike Oliver through 10 rounds in Hartford -ESPNFNF

Photo by Rich Esposito
Billy Dib outdoes Mike Oliver through ten ugly rounds in Hartford
By Alex Pierpaoli
Photos by Rich Esposito

Boxing is more spectacle than sport; it is legalized assault as well as being a highly competitive contact sport and it occupies a different niche than team sports and even other individual contests. But all observers would agree there is a general aesthetic that is expected or hoped for when two combatants clash. And most observers would find the co-featured attraction of Billy Dib versus Mike Oliver, which became the Main Event just hours before show time, something less than aesthetically pleasing. This of course poses a problem for a promoter like Curtis 50 Cent
Jackson, the rapper turned boxing-businessman, who was making his first solo foray into the world of professional prizefighting promotion at the Connecticut Convention Center with an ESPN2 Friday Night Fights card.
Photo by Rich Esposito

Scheduled to be a co-featured promotion including featherweights in Dib & Oliver, the headliner was to pit light heavyweights Eleider Alvarez against Allan Green, but Green came down with a case of debilitating food poisoning just hours before the first bell and that fight was scratched. They say “the show must go on” and rappers certainly know that just as well as fight promoters, and so Dib-Oliver became the Main Event with no supporting feature.

Through ten rounds, Sydney, Australia’s Billy “The Kid” Dib outworked Hartford’s Mike Oliver in a rough, grinding, and occasionally tedious contest that put
Photo by Rich Esposito
Dib back in the winning column after his March visit to CT when he lost a 12 rounder and his IBF Featherweight title to the Mexican-Russian, Evegny Gradovich. Picking up a majority decision win against Oliver, Dib was caught with a speedy right hand counterpunch in round two that stunned the Aussie and sent
him back into the ropes. Both men traded and, perhaps hoping to grab some time to recover, or simply because he intended to break down the body of Oliver, Dib landed a hard uppercut below the belt which left Oliver on the canvas, writhing. Because of the severity of the infraction Referee Mike Ortega took take a point away from Dib on the scorecards.

After being looked at by the ringside physician, who came right up into the ring, Oliver was ruled OK to continue and the “action” resumed. Dib, 127lbs, was able to drive Oliver to the ropes repeatedly where both men worked in close with Dib doing the significant work while Oliver seemed content to try and flurry and land sporadic single-shot counters. Again in round three Dib nailed Oliver below the belt and again
Photo by Rich Esposito
Ref Ortega deducted a point from him, causing the Australian to either rethink his offense, or leave CT with another defeat, this time by DQ.

As the rounds wore on, Oliver, 124lbs, continued letting Dib press the action and drive him back into the ropes. When Oliver did the leading, instead of clutching and grabbing, especially in ring center, he put Dib on the defensive. But Oliver simply would not maintain the effort and preferred the confines of the ropes and corners where Dib would dominate and Oliver would land rare single-shot counters or insignificant shoe-shine flurries.

Photo by Rich Esposito

In the eighth, Oliver began the round pressing Dib and drew cheers from his hometown crowd but it was short-lived and he was quickly back to letting Dib come forward and fighting from the ropes with only mild success. At the end of ten rounds of action at close-quarters the judges saw it in favor of Billy Dib by majority decision with scores of 94-94, overruled by 96-92 x 2.

In victory Dib improved to 36-2-1 (21) and now hopes for a rematch with Gradovich later this year. 
Photo by Rich Esposito

Meanwhile Mike Oliver, returning to the ring for the first time since an October 2011 kayo loss to Juanma Lopez, fell to 25-4-1(8) while giving Hartford fans something to cheer about at least in the early going.

In ESPN2’s first TV bout, lightweight Mark “Too Sharp” Davis of Baton Rouge, LA, did lots of trash-talking and just enough boxing through 8 rounds to defeat Robert Osiobe of Las Vegas, NV. The first half of the bout saw Davis land repeatedly with jolting power-punches, often abandoning the jab and leaping in with left hooks to the head and body. Davis was able to control Osiobe when he pressed the action but he coasted a bit in the final rounds and looked to counter his opponent, waiting for openings that didn’t come.

After eight the officials saw it in favor of Mark Davis by scores of 78-74 x 2 and 77-75.
Davis improved to 17-0 (5) and Robert Osiobe fell to 14-6-4 (6).

Junior welterweights, Donte Strayhorn of Cincinnati, OH and Oscar Diaz of Hartford, CT, boxed a heated four rounder that winded up being one of the most exciting bouts on the card for sustained action. After a shoving match at the weigh-in on Thursday, the southpaw, Diaz was very aggressive but mostly ineffective against the taller, more patient Strayhorn who was able to blast away at the on-rushing Diaz, cutting him over both eyes. In the third, Strayhorn nailed a clowning Diaz with a jab as if to punish him for the lack of respect. Strayhorn followed up and had Diaz hurt but the fighter-under-siege lost his mouthpiece and it was the lack of hustle from his corner in rinsing it and putting it back in Diaz’ mouth that probably ensured there would be no knockout.
At the end of 12 minutes of fighting both men embraced in a gesture of sportsmanship and when the scores were read the decision went to Strayhorn by majority decision. One judge saw it 38-38, clearly confusing aggression with effectiveness, but was overruled by two scores of 40-36 for Strayhorn.
Donte Strayhorn moved to 2-1 with the win, while Oscar Diaz dropped to 0-2.

One hundred fifty-seven pound David Wilson, of New Haven, CT, won his pro-debut versus Rodrigo Almeida of Woburn, MA, also 157lbs. Wilson, a southpaw, controlled the flashier Almeida and exposed his flash for little more than fluff through 4 one-sided rounds.
After four the officials tabbed Wilson the victor by 3 scores of 40-36, sending him home at 1-0 while Almeida backs into the pro-ranks at 0-1.

Featherweights, Nate “The Great One” Green, of New Haven, CT, and Micah Branch, of Cincinnati, Ohio, got things started in the first bout of the night. Green, a southpaw, used left-hand leads, good-turning and a coolness beyond his experience to control the action through four rounds.

Afterwards, all three judges saw it 40-36 all in favor of Nate "The Great One" Green who improved to 4-0(1) while Micah Branch dropped to 1-7-1.

Welterweight prospect, Emmanuel Perata De Jesus, of Canovanas, Puerto Rico, looked as though he might score the only stoppage win of the night when he dropped Rikardo Smith in round two with a huge left hook but it was not to be. Rising from the knockdown, Smith fought his way back and was able to land several jolting blows in the third to keep things interesting and force observers to question how much of a prospect Perata may actually be.

After four however, the judges saw it 39-36 twice and 40-35 all in favor of Emmanuel Perata De Jesus who improved to 5-0 (5) while Rikardo Smith fell to 6-4.

In the final bout of the night, undefeated welterweight Jimmy Williams, of New Haven, CT, was bedeviled with the odd movement of Saul Almeida, of Framingham, MA. Williams may have been able to make things easier for himself had he gone to the body of the frenetically, darting, dashing, and feinting Almeida but the Elm City welter was content to focus on the head and score enough points to win. Almeida, a converted kick-boxer, is a tough foe to look good against and so Williams did the next best thing, he won, and he can try looking good his next time through the ropes.

At the end of four rounds, all three of the judges had it 40-36 in favor of Jimmy Williams who improved to 4-0 (2) while Saul Almeida fell to 0-2.

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