By Ryan Songalia
Featherweight contender Billy Dib says he is upset that the fight between him and unbeaten WBO Oriental featherweight titlist Lorenzo Villanueva has been nixed and hopes to see the clash rescheduled in the near future.
The 30-1 (18 KO) former title challenger Dib of Sydney, Australia was originally scheduled to meet the North Cotabato, Philippines native Villanueva (18-0, 17 KO) on March 12 in Perth, Australia, but Villanueva's manager Manny Pinol took exception by promoter Peter Maniatis' intention to reschedule the fight for March 5 in Sydney, where he didn't feel he could get a fair shake.
Pinol also asked for a neutral referee and one Filipino judge, which he says the promoter claims would cost too much to make.
"Thats bullsh*t," says Dib, 25. That's the risk you take; I'm the bigger name. What about when Nedal Hussein boxed [Manny] Pacquiao in the Philippines [in 2000]? He got robbed of the win.
"He punked out," continued Dib on Villanueva. "They don't understand this was a small promotion. The fight was going to cost like $50,000 to put on."
An email requesting comment from Dib's trainer Billy Hussein was not returned at time of print.
Dib still hopes to salvage the fight eventually, adding that he would even fight in the Philippines "for the right money." Dib insists that Villanueva and his team don't want the fight.
Pinol, in an earlier interview with BoxingScene.com, shared a similar sentiment when he stated, "Maybe [Dib's promoter] also realized that Villanueva would be a dangerous opponent for Dib given his knockout record."
Dib, who is ranked number 5 by the IBF, is still scheduled to face an opponent to be determined on March 12. Dib hopes to parlay a win in March into another title shot, this time against WBA champion Chris John (44-0-1, 22 KO) of Indonesia.
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMANews.TV and the Filipino Reporter newspaper. From January through April, he will cover the Daily News Golden Gloves tournament for the New York Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected]galia.com . An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ryansongalia .