Anderson Silva made a career in MMA by making the impossible possible. Now he’s done the same thing in boxing.
UFC legend Silva defeated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. by split decision (75-77, 77-75, 77-75) in a shockingly impressive boxing performance Saturday night at Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara, Mexico.
As a serious outsider, Silva had not participated in boxing since 2005 and only had two professional boxing matches. Chavez Jr., the son and namesake of Mexico’s most popular boxing superstar, is a former WBC middleweight champion.
“I love to fight,” said Silva in his interview after the fight. “Boxing was my dream for many years. I had to show my respect for boxing. I have to come here and do my best.”
The fight was fought at 182 pounds with eight three-minute rounds. Chavez Jr. lost 2.4 pounds on Friday and lost $ 100,000 of his wallet to Silva. The event was dubbed the “Tribute to the Kings,” with headliner Chavez Sr. fighting against Hector Camacho Jr., son of his greatest rival, in a boxing match.
Silva’s fight against Chavez Jr. started slowly, but Silva gained confidence in the third round and looked like the vintage version of the MMA all-time great. By the third round, he started dropping his hands and taunting Chavez Jr., a staggering feat considering the enormous void in the boxing experience. Silva carried that confidence and began hurting Chavez Jr. in round four with combinations and a long, straight left. A southpaw, Silva also gave a solid, snapping push.
Chavez Jr. had a few body gunshot and left hook moments, but he never really hurt Silva. In the seventh round, Silva opened an incision near Chavez Jr.’s right eye, which began to bleed more heavily in the eighth round.
“I think it could have been a tie,” said Chavez Jr .. “I failed to take more punches. He didn’t do much damage. There were a couple of rounds going back and forth.”
Silva outperformed Chavez Jr. 99-53 total strokes and 60-41 power strokes per CompuBox. Then Canelo Alvarez, the world’s best pound-for-pound boxer, came up to Silva and gave him a “greeting,” said Silva.
“I don’t think so,” said Silva. “Canelo, come and talk to me. I’m so happy.”
Silva has been talking about doing a boxing match for about a decade but was under contract with the UFC. Silva always said a boxing match with Roy Jones Jr. was his dream and his goal. Perhaps it can happen now at both advanced ages.
Silva (2-1) is one of the greatest champions in MMA history. The native Brazilian held the UFC middleweight title for seven years, the longest reign in ascension history. “The Spider” has the longest winning streak in UFC history (16) and the most placements in UFC championships (nine). Silva, 46, requested his release from the UFC last November and it was granted. He has only had one MMA win since 2012.
Chavez Jr. (52-6-1) has lost four of his last six fights. He is being suspended indefinitely by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) and the Arizona Boxing & MMA Commission for refusing to take a drug test before a fight with Danny Jacobs in 2019.
Chavez Jr., 35, never quite lived up to the family’s high expectations, despite winning over Marco Antonio Rubio and Andy Lee. He has made high profile fights against Canelo Alvarez and Jacobs.
On the undercard, Ramon Alvarez, brother of Canelo, defeated Omar Chavez, son of Chavez Sr. and brother of Chavez Jr., by unanimous decision.