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Another Blow to 50 Cent's Sinking Boxing Ship, Billy Dib Loses IBF Belt

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COMMENTARY | 50 Cent's upstart promotional company, SMS Promotions, suffered another setback on Friday when its only reigning world titlist, Australia's Billy Dib, dropped his IBF featherweight title to underdog Russian challenger, Evgeny Gradovich, via split decision on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights.

When the rapping boxing promoter accompanied Dib to the ring of the MGM Grand at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut, he brought his whole SMS crew with him. Rapping about "a new day" and sounding a bit flat, it wasn't until "Fiddy" gave "shout-outs" to his team that one realized the feeble foundation upon which this supposedly game-changing promotional outfit is built.

Shout out to Andre Dirrell.

Dirrell is a world class talent who, it may be safe to say, is not exactly in love with the actual art of war. With just two fights in three years, inactivity is robbing the super middleweight from Flint, Michigan of his best years. His most recent bout was on February 2, but a one-sided decision over Ghanaian no-hoper, Michael Gbenga on a club card in McAllen, Texas is hardly an indication of being able to continue where he left off professionally.

Dirrell looked good Friday night in Mashantucket, but he always looks good these days-- He hasn't taken a real punch since March of 2010.

Shout out to Yuriorkis Gamboa.

The Cuban Olympic gold medalist, former featherweight world titlist, and current interim WBA super featherweight champ is, indeed, a unique talent. But, like Dirrell, inactivity is sapping the life blood from Yuriorkis Gamboa. Legal issues with former promoter, Top Rank, took almost a full year from the 31-year-old. When Gamboa did finally return to active duty, he would score a unanimous twelve-round decision over Michael Farenas, but not before getting buzzed and sent to the canvas by the unheralded Filipino fringe contender.

Gamboa's ring rust would be completely forgotten, though, when his name appeared on the records of a Miami-based anti-aging clinic busted in a sting involving distribution of performance enhancing drugs. Not only was the Cuban listed as a client, but a notebook found at the agency even outlined his doping method and schedule. Nothing professionally can be done to him regarding this issue, but in this age of PED-awareness and concern, it's only logical to assume that Gamboa may now have a tough time getting a major fight. At the very least, volunteer testing will likely have to be in place for any main stage Gamboa fight and, really, there's no guarantee regarding his level of output when placed in the fish bowl of 24/7 random testing.

Shout out to Billy Dib.

Dib lost his paper IBF title on Friday night and he got legitimately beaten up by a marginal challenger booked on a few days' notice and ranked no. 35 in the world by Boxrec. Despite the close scores (114-112, 114-112, 112-114) and the split decision ruling, the bout wasn't close. It was a solid drubbing of Dib at the hands of someone with, literally, no big fight experience. Those who doubted the Australian's status as a real player on the world scene were validated by a poor showing in, arguably, the biggest fight of his career. If Dib's IBF belt was the cornerstone of the SMS empire, the company is in big trouble.

And not only do 50 Cent's fighters have serious issues, but the entire organization seems to be held together by little more than hopes, wishes, and the faint promise of showbiz-style money. For all his press conference bluster, the rapper has yet to even do a solo show with his guys and has had to depend on Bob Arum to give Gamboa a spot on the Pacquiao-Marquez card and a co-promotional deal with Lou DiBella to handle the Dib show. The fact is that SMS has neither the infrastructure nor the pull to handle a real boxing show from top to bottom.

So, while 50 Cent makes headlines from tossing around Floyd Mayweather's name in the presence of a star-struck boxing media, the bottom line of the business eludes him. Until he's actually able to put on shows with viable, consistent world class talent, SMS Promotions will more closely resemble the RMS Titanic.


Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.

Source: ESPN2 Friday Night Fights

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