Millionaire recording artist 50 Cent told RingTV.com on Friday that he has signed IBF featherweight beltholder Billy Dib of Australia to a contract with TMT Promotions, the newly-formed company he will run with Floyd Mayweather Jr. when the fighter is released from his 87-day sentence at the Clark County Detention Center on Aug. 3.
The rapper, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, provided his first public interview about the venture to RingTV.com from Las Vegas, where he said Dib and his brother and adviser, Emaid, came to terms over Chinese food at a restaurant at the Palms Casino in the wee hours of Friday morning.
In signing with 50 Cent and TMT Promotions -- which stands for "The Money Team" -- Dib joins a stable that already includes super middleweight contender Andre Dirrell and former featherweight titleholder Yuriorkis Gamboa.
"Now that 50 Cent and Floyd have started their business, they contacted us in Australia and asked us if we would come over and speak with him," said Dib, a 27-year-old fighter of Lebanese decent who is 34-1 with 21 knockouts.
"50 Cent has basically flown us over here, and he showed us a lot of love. I like the sound of the company. I like the people that he has signed to the company. I'm really excited about the future and what the future holds for me in boxing with this company."
In this interview, 50 Cent confined discussion to details the signing of Dib and briefly addressed the company's philosophy.
RingTV.com: I recall that you told me that you were in training for a super middleweight debut, so how is the weight?
50 Cent: Everything is going smooth. Everything is going good. [Laughs.] But if I fight at 168, then I would run into Dirrell and them boys, so I think I'm going to have to go a little lower. I don't want to fight no taxi drivers, though. I need to fight somebody with some talent. [Laughs.]
RingTV.com: What do you like about Dib, an Austalian figher, and what do you think you can do with his career?
50: Well, what I want to do with Billy Dib is that you point out that he's an Australian fighter, but we all recognized the IBF belt as a world title. So, what we have here is the featherweight champion.
He's a champion of the world. Floyd has an eye. He has the knack. He can kind of point out talent and things and see things within himself that he sees in some other fighters.
Floyd can pin-point something in a fighter and say, "50, go after that," and he can say, "go and get him." So I went out there and I got him.
RingTV.com: What was Dib's reaction?
50: Well, Billy just wanted to be associated with true talent and to have an actual company to start off with and to be represented so he can get fighters who don't actually duck him.
Billy has always fought his mandatories, and he never ran from anybody. So it's exciting to have a guy in the crew and they're actually running from his crew.
RingTV.com: What is the challenge in flying Dib over to America and marketing him here?
50: I think that the right matchups make for exciting fights. It's not necessarily where the fighters come from, but when you can actually have the ability to see the fighter and to follow a fighter's career regardless of what part of the world their from.
There are fighters with all different ethnicities. He's Arabic, so there really hasn't been that much of a focus on the fact that they [Arabic community] have a champion with Dib.
So it's about actually having a platform where you can actually reach the masses and have people in general to identify with his talents, and that's what we're planning to do.
RingTV.com: Sort of like Amir Khan is English but of Pakistani decent?
50: Exactly. So I think that his background gives that specific demographic of Arabics something to be connected to, but I think that the world can also appreciate a talented fighter. That's something that not only the IBF belt says about him.
Not that they just gave it to him, but he earned it because of the talented fighter that he is. In this case, people will actually identify with him and have a special connection to him because they have those things in common.
But in the fighting world, the boxers, they are acknowledged by other fighters and by people who have a passion for the sport.
RingTV.com: Is there anything more that you feel comfortable at this point sharing with the fans and the boxing community about your company?
50: I mean, outside of the fact that it was Floyd's concept, and that it was his idea initially that he wanted to develop a company for himself and for other talent that can execute things without having to be within a traditional situation where you have to completely watch your back, 24/7.
From a fighter's perspective, you know, it's going to be exciting to be a part of our company and something like that. When you achieve a certain level of success with your career, you start to do some soul-searching and you start to figure out what you're actually after.
Are you after a specific amount of money, or are you after something that within your legacy allows you to be someone that is remembered for more than just great projects that you've participated in. It becomes about helping people in a different way.
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Ed Mulholland, Fightwireimages.com
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com