Jones-Silva: Boxing to meet MMA?

By Michael Herron


Jones-Silva: Boxing to meet MMA?

The light-heavyweight division has very interesting. Upcoming championship fights such as Chad Dawson vs. Glen Johnson, and Clinton Woods vs. Antonio Tarver have given fight fans much to look forward to. In addition, former heavyweight champion Chris Byrd is scheduled to join the division; and in a much anticipated matchup, world champion Bernard Hopkins will defend against the world super-middleweight champion, Joe Calzage. Temporarily out of the equation, however, is former multi-division champion and pound-for-pound superstar Roy Jones, Jr., who has been talking about fighting Markus Beyer in a match-up that would generate interest in Germany, but not so much in America. 

Since defeating Felix Trinidad in January 2008, Jones has yet to secure a meaningful fight. With the majority of top contenders occupied, Jones, though reticent to do so early in his career, says he is willing to travel to Europe for a possible matchup with Beyer, a former super-middleweight titlist. Recent reports have indicated, however, that Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) champion Anderson Silva has issued Jones a challenge.

Born in Brazil, Silva, the reigning UFC middleweight champion, is considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the MMA world. He has consistently made easy work of his opponents inside the cage. His exceptional ability to kick, strike, knee, and choke the opposition have won him high honors and numerous championships. In Silva’s most recent performance, a title unification bout, he applied a rear-naked choke to defeat Dan Henderson, PRIDE 183-pound champion. Fight fans are typically in for a treat whenever Silva steps into the “cage,” but how will that translate if and when he steps into the “ring?”

In terms of boxing ability, Silva does not have many disadvantages. He is a tall, rangy southpaw, with excellent speed, power, and punching ability. He has proven to be a very intelligent and highly skilled technical fighter. Coincidently, Roy Jones struggled with a similar style when he faced Antonio Tarver. Over the course of three fights, he lost a convincing decision and suffered a dramatic knockout. What Silva doesn’t have, however, is experience. Regardless of his talent he will still be facing a boxing legend in Roy Jones, Jr. Though Jones is past his prime, boxing is still his sport--still his stage--and still his profession. Since rebounding from his losses in 2004, Jones has regained his hunger for the sport; adding Silva to his list of vanquished foes would add credence to his comeback.

Conceivably, Jones vs. Silva may be just what MMA needs. In the past few weeks, professional boxing has thoroughly thrashed MMA in terms of competitive and exciting fights. Pacquiao vs. Marquez II, Diaz vs. Campbell, and the final act of the Vasquez vs. Marquez trilogy, has ensured boxing supremacy in early 2008. For MMA fans, another fight featuring “Shamrocks” have become as worn as Oscar De La Hoya’s Pay-Per-View “Shenanigans.” In Jones and Silva, however, you have two of the most talented and respected proponents of the sport. MMA would benefit greatly if Silva is able to defeat Jones at his own game. The idea of having a two-sport champion (though Jones doesn’t own a major title) could potentially give MMA not only a ratings boost, but also prominence and respect.

Throughout the past few years professional boxing and MMA have competed vigorously for network exposure, promotional support, and Pay-Per-View audiences. Fans of both sports have long wondered how a contest between two of its best fighters would play out. With an invigorated Roy Jones, Jr. available and Anderson Silva gaining momentum, it is only natural to bring the two together. Jones has made three successful comeback appearances since losing to Tarver and Johnson; and has begun to regain his championship form. Silva has remained perfect in the UFC; and now desires to bring his skills to boxing. If this fight could be made, it could potentially be one of the highest grossing events in boxing and MMA history.


Send questions and comments to: