By Daniel Lane
WORLD boxing champion Billy Dib described his deal to be promoted by rap singer 50 Cent and boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather jnr as ''life changing'' but he vowed the bright lights and bling would not change him.
Dib was identified by 50 Cent as the calibre of athlete who could help him and Mayweather fulfil their objective to resuscitate boxing.
The pair want to turn the sport into a dynamic form of entertainment that would feature headline bands, dancers and a stable of marketable fighters who possessed skill and charisma. The clean-cut Aussie was expected to have his first fight for their company, The Money Team, in November.
Dib, and his brother/manager Emaid, travelled to Los Angeles to sign the deal. During their time together Dib told the rap singer he wanted to be backed by a promoter who'd be unwavering in his support.
''50 Cent told me he can do everything to promote me and to build my profile,'' IBF featherweight champion Dib said. ''He's talked about the possibility of me appearing in movies with him but he made it clear it was up to me to perform in the ring because he can't do my fighting for me.''
The performer is a boxing enthusiast who competed as an amateur before being discovered by Eminem.
''A lot of positive things will come out of this actual friendship and we'll be able to absolutely do more than people expect us to. Trust that,'' 50 Cent said. ''Having an opportunity to work with Billy is to have the opportunity to watch him blossom in front of not just Australia but the world.''
When The Sun-Herald met Dib this week he was holding one of his regular motivational sessions at Punchbowl Boys High School. As the boys examined his title belts, Dib said hard work and an unshakable focus made dreams achievable. His brother Jihad, who is the school's principal, said the fighter had supported several initiatives including literacy for year 7 students and a program to promote good health and nutrition.
Dib's ascent was a far cry from five years ago when he was dismissed as ''spent goods'' after he lost what was called an ''uninspiring'' effort to the Steven Luevano on US television.
''It was painful to hear some people thought I was washed up before I'd even started,'' Dib said.