MMA legend Anderson Silva will strap on boxing gloves for the first time in more than 15 years to face veteran Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. this Saturday in Guadalajara, Mexico, in Silva’s third time competing inside the squared circle.
Silva’s first boxing experience happened on May 22, 1998, when he met Osmar Teixeira in a 155-pound match. Silva was 2-0 at the time in MMA, having won a one-night, four-man MMA tournament a month before in Brazil, while Teixeira, who is seven years older than “The Spider,” held a 7-2 record as a professional boxer that night in União da Vitoria, Brazil.
“I was always a disciplined boxer, but I never thought twice about fighting the next day if someone called me,” Teixeira said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “I wasn’t afraid of anything, I’d fight whoever.”
Reflecting back on the bout, Teixeira said a “crook manager” was promoting the event and claimed he had “no idea” that Silva would be his opponent until he entered the ring.
Cameras weren’t very affordable at that time, especially for a crowd that would go to a small boxing event inside a local gymnasium. There are no photos or videos of the contest available anywhere, but the official result is listed on BoxRec: Teixeira wins by retirement.
“I entered the ring, the bell rang and he walked straight forward, landing a sequence from corner to corner,” Teixeira said. “When we got back to the center of the ring and I was able to see things again — because he hit me with a lot of punches — I threw my first sequence with a hook to the liver in the end of the first round and the fight was over. He couldn’t come back.”
A stoppage win over Anderson Silva wasn’t a big deal at the time. Silva, who holds a 1-1 record in professional boxing, would only become one of mixed martial arts’ best fighters almost two decades later, but Teixeira says people still expected Silva to win.
“He claims he wasn’t a professional and whatnot, but he was experienced, he had like 300 years of Muay Thai [experience], so he wasn’t naive,” Teixeira said. “I didn’t call him out, he wanted to fight me. From what I heard, he was already this cocky. They thought, ‘Let’s find [an easy win] for Anderson,’ and they found me. Hot got burned, right?”
Teixeira and Silva went separate ways after that night, with the boxer racking up a 30-22 record in his sport while “The Spider” went on to collect MMA belts in Shooto, Cage Rage and ultimately the UFC.
Teixeira said he did throw hands once more with Silva after that, however the second time all happened inside a gym in Curitiba. He claims the MMA fighter “wanted to screw me.”
“I’m a really nice guy,” Teixeira said. “I was in my gym years later, I hadn’t trained for almost a year, and he was coming off fights in Japan, this shameless guy, and someone came to me saying, ‘Anderson Silva asked you to spar with him, to help him train.’ That’s common in boxing, to call someone to spar with you. But his intention was to get revenge.
“We started sparring but he kept his body low, his ass all the way back to keep his liver away from me. And then I realized … we were not in a ring, so he backed me against the wall and threw 50 or something punches to the head, but dropping me ain’t easy. He threw a barrage of punches and it looked bad for him because he couldn’t drop me. And then he got tired and said the round was over. It looked bad for him because he already was [in] PRIDE at the time. I went there with good intentions to help the guy and he just wanted to rip my head off. Really dirty.”
Teixeira holds no grudges against Silva despite that incident, he said, but isn’t a big fan of his career either. The retired boxer believes “The Spider” was successful in MMA before “Americans began to learn” the sport, and then “things got more even when the enemy learned how to fight.”
“But he doesn’t have [punching] power for boxing,” Teixeira said. “He’s tall, yes, but he doesn’t have power.”
Chavez Jr., Silva’s opponent in Guadalajara, is a veteran boxer with a record of 52-5-1 and 34 knockouts. Chavez Jr. has bounced between wins and losses ever since Sergio Martinez snapped his 46-0-1 unbeaten record in 2012, but still is far more experienced than Silva in a ring.
“Truth is, this is a fight to make money. You know that,” Teixeira said. “Even I, who have nothing to do with it, want to watch it. Even those who don’t like [boxing] want to watch it. It’s like [Conor] McGregor and Floyd Mayweather. Everybody knew [Mayweather] was going to win and he waited for the 10th round to beat the guy because it would produce more ratings for the TV. Anderson will make some money, and so will [Chavez].
“Chavez has everything to win,” he added. “Mexicans are tough, right? If it was his father, I would be absolutely sure [Chavez] would win. If it was Saul Canelo Alvarez, then I’d be 300 percent sure.”