MMA

MMA legend Anderson Silva to face Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in boxing clash this June

MMA fans of a certain age likely remember the years of talk surrounding a potential boxing bout between UFC legend Anderson Silva and boxing great Roy Jones Jr. That fight never came to fruition, but with Silva no longer under UFC contract, the former middleweight champion is set to return to the boxing ring for the first time since 2005 to face Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., son of all-time great Julio Cesar Chavez.

A press release sent Tuesday confirmed the bout, rumored since earlier in the year, would headline a pay-per-view event titled “Tribute to the Kings” on June 19 from Guadalajara, Mexico. Chavez Sr. will make his final in-ring appearance on the card, boxing an exhibition bout against Hector Camacho Jr.

Silva’s storied UFC career came to an end this past October when he was knocked out by Uriah Hall. The loss was Silva’s seventh in his last eight trips to the Octagon, four of which came by form of stoppage. Prior to that downswing, Silva was a perfect 16-0 in the UFC, capturing the 185-pound championship and successfully defending it 10 times.

“When I look back at my journey, I see that nothing has been in vain,” Silva stated in the press release. “I am extremely happy for the opportunity to test my boxing skills with Julio César Chávez Jr. I train continuously, always am striving for resilience and to overcome obstacles. Fighting is my everlasting breath.”

Chavez is a former middleweight world champion. He started his career unbeaten in his first 47 bouts. Failed drug tests and issues making weight led to many criticisms of his dedication to the sport, even as he held the WBC title for over a year. Chavez is 6-5 in his previous 11 bouts, including several disappointing performances and a shocking upset loss to Mario Abel Cazares in November.

“I have rededicated myself to the sport I love and I will be ready to face anyone in the light heavyweight division starting with Silva,” Chavez stated in the release. “I will be prepared to be victorious on June 19.”

It appears Oscar De La Hoya teasing a return to the ring in multiple 2020 interviews was not just the legendary boxer blowing hot air. During Friday’s press conference for the upcoming boxing match between YouTube celebrity-turned fighter Jake Paul and former MMA champion Ben Askren, De La Hoya said he would be stepping back in the ring on July 3.

“July 3, I’m making my comeback,” De La Hoya stated during the press conference.

De La Hoya, 48, has not fought since a December 2008 loss to Manny Pacquiao. He stepped away from active participation in the sport to continue his focus on Golden Boy Promotions but retired with a career record of 39-6 and having won world championships in six weight classes.

The former Olympic gold medalist revealed last year that he was focused on returning to competition, following in the footsteps of other legends like Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. who fought in a blockbuster exhibition fight promoted by streaming service Triller. Triller also is putting on the fight between Paul and Askren.

“The rumors are true, and I’m going to start sparring in the next few weeks,” De La Hoya told ESPN last year. “It’s a real fight I miss being in the ring, I love boxing. Boxing is what gave me everything I have today, and I just miss it.”

While De La Hoya previously said his return would be against any top guy,” his opponent for July 3 has not yet been announced. Boxing reporter Steve Kim reports that De La Hoya and other Golden Boy Promotions executives are scouting locations for the bout, including Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

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Dwight Ritchie

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