Anderson Silva's return to the professional boxing ring was a resounding success as the UFC legend beat former world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. by split decision in Guadalajara, Mexico. The fight was Silva's first trip to the boxing ring since 2005.
The fight started slow, with both men feeling the other out before Silva began to play some of the mind games that defined many of his best moments in his storied UFC career. As Chavez had some early success with his more traditional boxing techniques, Silva began to use awkward timing and angles -- along with a natural size advantage -- to begin to mix clean punching with taunting that seemed to throw Chavez off his game.
Silva continued to get loose, working off the jab and forcing Chavez back into the ropes. Once Silva began to force Chavez backward, Chavez seemed to fade, dropping his workrate while also seeming to tire. Silva kept his foot on the gas, bloodying Chavez above the right eye and taking complete control of the fight.
By the end of the eight-round contest, it seemed clear Silva had done more than enough to take the fight on the scorecards, but he did have to survive one final scare as one judge turned in a 77-75 scorecard for Chavez. The other two judges had the same score in favor of Silva, giving him a huge upset victory.
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"I feel so happy," Silva said after the fight. "Wow. I need to say thank you because my coach worked with me a lot. When I started training, I told my coach I needed to do this because I love fighting and boxing was my dream for many, many years and I needed to prove my respect for boxing. I needed to come in here and do my best."
Silva outlanded Chavez 99 to 53 in the fight and was able to absorb every punch Chavez landed without appearing affected at all. After the fight, Chavez claimed he felt the fight should have been scored a draw, saying he didn't throw enough punches but that Silva never hurt him during the fight.
The fight could mark the next chapter of Silva's career as the 46-year-old suggested he could make a quick turnaround to return to the ring.
"Now I go back to home, my son has a fight very soon," Silva said. "I'll go back and help my son and my team. Maybe I'll fight very soon."