by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight titleholder Anderson Silva recently indicated that he would like to challenge Roy Jones, Jr. – once regarded as one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world – to a boxing match.
“Anderson really would love to fight Roy Jones, Jr. in a boxing match,” said Ed Soares, Silva’s manager. “It’s not just talk, we really would like to put that fight together.
“We respect Jones’ boxing ability and think he’s one of the best, but we’re tired of different boxers saying that MMA fighters aren’t technical. Anderson would love to fight Roy Jones in a boxing match under boxing rules to prove that MMA fighters are technical, too.”
It now appears that what started out as a dream bout may actually have some merit to it.
Even nationally syndicated sports talk host Jim Rome, on his Rome Is Burning television show on ESPN2, has picked up on the story. He isn’t a big proponent of the bout happening though, saying, “Silva should not box Roy Jones. Where’s the intrigue in that? The whole ‘would MMA beat boxing’ argument is a big waste of time; it’s irrelevant. Silva, the best MMAer in the world would get schooled, even by a way past his prime Roy Jones, if he ever did boxing. He can’t fight his way off the ropes with his knees, just as Jones wouldn’t last a minute with Silva in his cage.”
According to Soares, however, there are other people who think there might be some merit to putting Silva up against Jones in a boxing ring.
“I just spoke with Roy Jones’ management and they are very interested in it. They think it would break all kinds of pay-per-view records. It all kind of started as a dream of Anderson’s, but if the UFC would back it, it is something that we really would like to pursue.”
Jones’ management indicated that this could be a fight that would bring together the fractured factions of boxing and mixed martial arts. “They think it will actually bring together the boxing and MMA communities,” said Soares.
And that would have to be a big part of it, as he continued, “Anderson looks up to Roy Jones, and he would love to test his skills against him. At the same time, we are very loyal to the UFC and would love to represent the UFC in a boxing match with Jones.”
UFC president Dana White has been vocal in the past about a boxer stepping into MMA to challenge his fighters. Prior to his fight with Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. commented, “(the UFC) ain’t nothing but a fad… These are guys that couldn’t do boxing.” White fired back offering up then lightweight champion Sean Sherk in the Octagon as a proving ground for Mayweather, who then retracted much of what he said.
It is unclear, however, if White is willing to put up Silva in a boxing match, as he was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.
Jones is currently headed out of the country until next week, but his management told Soares that he was “flattered and excited” by Silva’s interest in a boxing match with him. The parties are expected to talk again once Jones returns.