The boxing business is a tough nut to crack. Rap mogul 50 Cent, real name CuTtis Jackson, has decided to throw his hat into the ring in a promotional capacity, starting TMT (The Money Team) by signing Billy Dib, Andre Dirrell, Yuriorkis Gamboa, and at one point it was thought he had Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the fold. That however was not meant to be.
Last night on ESPN’s flagship boxing program, Friday Night Fights, 50 Cent rapped his way to the ring with his champion charge at his side, Billy Dib. Dib strode to the ring while being led there by Dirrell and 50 cent to face replacement fighter, and longshot Evgeny Gradovich. Unfortunately for Team Money, nobody told Gradovich he was there to lose, and he fought very well on his way to a split decision victory over the previous champion Dib.
The judges did their best to botch things for Gradovich, taking an easy one sided victory and handing back a split decision victory for Evgeny Gradovich. I scored the fight 116-110 for Gradovich who aggressively and accurately wore Dib down and walked away the new IBF Featherweight champion.
Gradovich 16-0 (8 KOs) made the most of an opportunity and Dib 35-2 (21 KOs) simply wilted under the pressure. Dib stated he felt he won the fight, and wants a rematch. He did not win the fight, nor did he come close to winning the fight, but he will likely be granted a rematch because that is how boxing works.
For 50 Cent, maybe it’s back to the drawing board. He’s still got Vitamin Water performing for The Money Team, so all is not lost. He has surrounded himself with some quality fighters, but he needs to work on his promotional chops a little. It was an unfortunate time for Dib to dive, but if the sweet science has taught us nothing, there’s always second (and third) chance.
Perhaps next time he has a champion fighting, he’ll let the champion be the focal point and not put himself front and center. In a walkout rap that had the fans sitting on their hands, 50 Cent concerned himself too much with the spotlight. It wasn’t as bad an entrance as Adrien Broner’s cringe inducing rap gone wrong, but it wasn’t stellar.
Also on the Friday Night Fights card was an incendiary performance by Willie Nelson as he dispatched Michael Medina in the first round by TKO. Nelson ran his impressive record to 20-1-1 (12 KOs) and will likely start facing tougher competition as he becomes more of a name in the sport.
For Medina, he was knocked down early, but once he got back up, he went down again awkwardly appearing to injure his ankle. He was unfortunately forced to leave on a stretcher due to his injured ankle, and reports have been inclusive as to the severity of the injury.
Willie Nelson’s promoter took to Twitter to say his fighter was capable of knocking out both Keith Thurman and Canelo Alvarez and furthermore he is the scariest boxer in the world at 154 pounds. To say that is hyperbole is being kind, but Willie Nelson will be looking to break the top ten with a future victory. It was certainly a nice victory for the up and coming fighter.