Was Anderson Silva knocked out in sparring ahead of his highly-anticipated boxing match with YouTube sensation-turned professional boxer Jake Paul this Saturday in Arizona? He was not… after saying he was.
“The Spider” made that revelation in an interview that had the Arizona commission require further testing earlier this week, but turns out that all he wanted was to promote his sparring partner Eliezer Silva, who faces Anthony Hannah in the Paul-Silva curtain jerker.
“Anderson is Anderson and every time you step into the ring to spar with him and help each other, you know it’s not going to be just a training session but a very technical fight, but there was no knockout,” Eliezer Silva said in an interview with MMA Fighting on Friday. “I think he was just trying to help me.”
Eliezer Silva is “just starting this sport” as an 1-0 professional boxer and feels that the former UFC superstar was trying to shed some light at him ahead of the event.
“The way he expressed himself, I think people misunderstood him,” Silva said. “But I think it was some fake news to [try to] help me.”
Silva has done that before during his legendary UFC run, revealing days prior to his clash with Nick Diaz that he had been knocked out in training by sparring partner. Khalil Rountree, 2-0 in MMA at the time, who would join The Ultimate Fighter a year later.
The “fake” admission did raise health concerns, though, but Eliezer said Anderson was never in doubt that the fight would go on as scheduled.
“He told me, ‘Brother, relax, it’s all good,’” Eliezer said. “If he really had been knocked out, do you think he would say that? It was done to create some buzz, and it did. It was positive for us.”
Silva is now hoping to capitalize on that attention Saturday, scoring an impressive win over Hannah after multiple fight cancellations over the past year ruined his plan to extend his record. First, his coach Nico Robledo Jr. was hospitalized and went through a near-death experience with COVID, and then an event in Dubai was cancelled following the death of U.A.E. president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Back in the ring, the 27-year-old feels ready for the big stage.
“Everything starts as a dream of wanting to give yourself and your family a better life,” said Silva, who sold chocolate truffles in the streets of his native Cuiaba, Brazil, as a way to fund his trip to Los Angeles to train at Black House. Once he made it to L.A., Silva received an offer to be part of “The Spider’s” camp for his final UFC fight, facing Uriah Hall.
“I felt embarrassed at first,” he said of selling chocolate truffles in the streets. “But it was my dream. Doors began to open for me and thank God I was able to show what I can do.”
Silva was still on the fence about starting a career in MMA or boxing, but decided to follow he advice of Robledo Jr., who he always refers as “father,” and enter the squared circle. Eliezer refers to Anderson Silva and his sons Khalil and Gabriel as “family,” and expects the team to go 2-0 in Glendale this Saturday.
“I’m quite confident and I know I’ve done a great job with my father,” he said. “We had three months to prepare for this fight, I had a lot of tough sparring sessions with guys that are 20-0 with 20 knockouts, with Brazilian Olympic champion Hebert Conceicao, and my mind and body are ready for this.”
As for Anderson’s clash with 5-0 boxer Jake Paul, Eliezer said “the knockout is consequence” of a well-done job.
“We’ll connect hands every second of the fight, in every opening he gives, and the opportunity for the knockout will come,” he said. “But I think Anderson will do a good job and definitely surprise everybody.”