Anderson “The Spider” Silva is one of the greatest MMA combatants of all time; arguably the best to ever to step foot inside the Octagon. But that didn’t stop the spiderish-one from crawling into his first professional boxing match in 16 years against Julio Chavez Jr. as the heavy betting underdog.
Personally, I can’t help but feel that a larger proportion of boxing fans threw dollars down on this one: Silva once went 16 fights unbeaten inside the Octagon, and rule No.1 from the MMA betting handbook is to never count the Spider out.
As was the case…
To the shock of the crowd in attendance at the Estadio Jalisco, Silva took care of business vs. Chavez Jr. The Brazillian departed Guadalajara, Mexico with his first pro boxing win since 2005, earning the victory via a split decision on the judges’ scorecards: 75-77, 77-75, 77-75.
Not bad for a 46-year-old with just two pro boxing bouts on his resume. Plus, Silva gave up a couple of pounds to his Mexican opponent too: Chavez Jr. failed to make weight on Friday and the commission fined the Mexican $100,000 of the fight purse as a result.
How Did the Silva vs. Chavez Jr. Fight Playout?
The fight itself was a slow burner. Not unlike how you might expect a fight between a veteran and a guy who missed weight to go. Both men seemed sluggish at first, but Chavez. Jr’s boxing prowess saw him eek a round early on.
Come the third round, however, Silva began to demonstrate the exact type of athlete he is. The Spider began taunting his opponent and lulling him in – tricks that UFC fans will remember only too well. The Brazillian began to showcase some MMA style footwork too, faking leg kicks to good effect (considering actually throwing one would have been downright illegal). And, by the end of the fourth round, the Spider had stung Chavez. Jr with a couple of sharp straights and mesmerizing combination punches.
I’d go as far as to say that, in the middle of the fight, it really felt like Silva had begun to turn the clock back to the early 2010s with some truly vintage striking. In particular, a right uppercut that split the Chavez guard had even the most ardent boxing fans waxing lyrical about the Brazillian’s skillset – even Canelo seemed impressed!
To be fair to Chavez Jr., it’s not like he was just in there to make up the numbers. The son of the Mexican boxing legend Julio Cesar Chavez had some good moments of his own – the body shots appeared to carry weight and there’s no doubting the man’s pedigree. But, ultimately, it all just made Silva’s performance all the more impressive.
Silva’s graft, showmanship, and inventiveness were rewarded when he tagged Chavez in the seventh round and opened up a bad cut that kept leaking until the final bell at the end of the eighth. In a close-fight such as this one last night, a little bit of blood is often enough to sway a judge or two and was likely at least a partial factor in the win.
Silva was clearly delighted with his own performance and rightly so. But the Brazillian was just as keen to pay his respects to the sweet science during the postfight interview:
“I love fighting,” Silva said. “Boxing was my dream for many years. I needed to show my respect for boxing. I need to come here and do my best.”
What’s Next for Anderson “The Spider” Silva?
Silva certainly exhibited enough boxing pedigree in the defeat of Chavez to warrant a dream fight against Roy Jones. Jr, a fighter Silva is long said to have wanted to test himself against.
It feels weird to write this… but You-Tuber-come-boxer Jake Paul was clearly impressed with Silva’s performance: he’s already been on social media to hype up the possibility of Silva vs. Jones Jr. appearing on the undercard of Paul vs. Woodley.
“Respect to Anderson Silva @spideranderson on the win….vc é uma lenda brasileira! Would be an honor to have him vs Roy Jones Jr on the same card as Tyron and I.”