By Rick Reeno
Adam Houda, the personal attorney for IBF featherweight champion Billy Dib (35-1, 21KOs), has officially confirmed that his client is no longer defending his title on December 1st at Madison Square Garden in New York. Dib was being positioned to fight undefeated contender Jayson Velez (19-0, 14KOs) as part of the Showtime televised card which features Miguel Cotto vs. Austin Trout in the main event.
"My client Billy "The Kid" Dib will not be fighting December 1 [in] New York. It appears Billy has been caught in the cross-fire of boxing politics," Houda said in a written statement.
BoxingScene.com reported last Sunday that Dib was likely being replaced on the card and there was already an ongoing search to secure a new opponent.
Multiple sources told BoxingScene that Showtime was not on board with Dib's involvement on the televised card. Although several years have passed, those in high authority still have fresh memories of the dreadful HBO televised fight between Dib and Steven Luevano in 2008 [Bernard Hopkins-Kelly Pavlik pay-per-view].
One potential replacement for Dib, according to sources with knowledge of the details, is WBC featherweight champion Daniel Ponce De Leon. De Leon is one of the candidates being considered and certainly a bigger opportunity for Velez. Regardless of the finalized replacement, BoxingScene was told that Velez would indeed remain in place as part of the Showtime card.
Regarding Houda's remark about boxing politics - some sources believe Dib's removal is the direct result of the escalating war of words between rapper/promoter 50 Cent and former friend Floyd Mayweather Jr. The two individuals were once close friends, but their relationship went sour over a business deal gone bad.
Last week, Curtis Jackson [50 Cent] engaged Mayweather in a war of words on Twitter. Jackson has also taken public shots at Golden Boy Promotions and their company president Oscar De La Hoya. Jackson's position wasn't helped when fighthype.com recently published a revealing handwritten letter to Mayweather. The letter was written by one of Jackson's associates, Tommy "Smalls" Summers, who pleaded with Mayweather to break his existing business relationships with Golden Boy and powerful adviser Al Haymon.
Dib is promoted by Jackson under a company called SMS Promotions.
However, Golden Boy and Haymon are working with Miguel Cotto Promotions on the December 1st event. Obviously, there was absolutely no reason for Golden Boy and Haymon to help Jackson secure a televised position for one of his fighters on a high profile event. And while Cotto Promotions is the lead promoter of the event, they have a very close working relationship with both Golden Boy and Haymon.