Anderson Silva was understandably moved after a life-shattering victory over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Saturday night in Mexico.
In eight rounds, the former UFC champion looked like a seasoned pro in the boxing ring as he demonstrated quick footwork, quick hands and fearlessly while taking on a former WBC champion with nearly 60 fights to his credit.
When all was said and done, Silva left the ring with a victory on his CV and two words seemed to repeat in his head as he tried to sum up his feeling about the whole experience.
“I’m very happy,” Silva told MMA Fighting during the post-fight press conference. “Mainly because I trained hard. I never stopped training. I love my work. I train hard every day. I work hard every day. I am happy.
“I am very, very happy. I’m very respectful with my coaches, with my training partners and I’m so happy to be here today and to win and to show my respect. I am so happy. “
When asked to compare the win over Chavez Jr. to some of his greatest achievements in the UFC, Silva didn’t really see the need to measure the two sports against each other.
“I can’t compare,” Silva said. “It’s completely different. You cannot compare. You come to Mexico, it’s a traditional sport here. You are putting on a great show for all the Mexican people. I am emotional at the moment. It is completely different. I can’t compare.
Of course, Silva was only the last mixed martial artist to switch to boxing, but he’s the first to really succeed at this level after fighters like Conor McGregor failed in similar situations.
Judging by his performance, the 46-year-old Brazilian surprised just about everyone as he got the upper hand over Chavez Jr. in almost every rally. It was truly the culmination of a long-held dream Silva carried throughout his UFC career that he would be able to test himself in the boxing ring against an opponent of this caliber.
Needless to say, Silva was quick to point out the respect he showed the sport of boxing when he took on this challenge, which reminded him that he passed it on to anyone looking to do the same later.
“Boxing is a traditional sport,” explained Silva. “When people try to fight boxing, people have to understand that it’s not easy. It’s not the same as MMA. MMA is a sport, boxing is a different sport. Jiu-jitsu is a different sport. When you enter different disciplines, you have to respect yourself and train hard.
“Because you can’t come to boxing if you don’t show respect for boxing. It’s respect. It’s martial [arts] the respect. It is combat respect. You have to respect that.
Despite Silva’s dominance, he almost fell victim to a centuries-old boxing problem after a judge inexplicably marked the fight for Chavez Jr.
At the end of the fight, Silva was hailed as the obvious winner, with the only real argument boiling down to the total number of rounds he won. Regardless of the confusing score awarded by the dissident official, Silva knows he did more than enough to win.
“I’m here, I’m not Mexican and I’m coming to fight in Mexico,” said Silva. “Everyone is watching the fight [saw] my opponent didn’t hurt me, didn’t put the points correctly and every time I hit my opponent I score points.
” I do not know. I can’t control anything on the outside, but on the inside I can control. Inside the ring I can control but outside it’s not with me.
As for the sequel, Silva was hesitant to make any definitive statements about fighting again in boxing or any other sport for that matter.
At 46, the legendary Brazilian has already devoted a large part of his life to combat sports, which is why he doesn’t really feel the need to make any decisions just yet.
“I don’t know,” Silva said of his future in combat. “Now I’m going home and my son has a fight real soon, a kickboxing fight and I’m going to go help my son. Maybe I fight jiu-jitsu, maybe I fight gi or no-gi, maybe I have the next boxing fight. I do not know. Right now my goal is to help my son.
“Let me tell you something, I have nothing more to prove to anyone.” The boxing community has shown me respect, for my opponent I have shown my respect, for the people here in Mexico. I love Mexico. I do not know. Maybe I’m still fighting boxing. I’m free now. I am a free man. I try to do my best in everything I do in my life. My goal at the moment is to help my son. My son is having a fight very soon and I will be helping my son in training. I am training my son for his next fight. The future is amazing. Everything is possible. Maybe I’m still fighting or not. Right now my goal is to enjoy my day and help my son in the next fight. “