In a press conference that broke new ground for the amount of respect and appreciation on display, Jake “The Problem Child” Paul and Anderson “The Spider” Silva showed that fighters don’t have to exchange insults to spread the word on a matchup that promises to deliver fireworks. The two sat for Monday’s kickoff press conference to hype their mega fight on Saturday, October 29 at Gila River Arena in Phoenix, Ariz. live on SHOWTIME PPV contracted for eight rounds at a catchweight of 187 pounds.
Paul and Silva even posed for photos together with Paul’s brother Logan to recreate a snapshot the trio took 13 years ago.
A press tour that started Monday in Los Angeles at the NeueHouse Hollywood will continue Tuesday at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., with both Paul and Silva taking center stage once again.
Paul has made no secret of his admiration for Silva, an MMA legend who holds the UFC record for the longest title reign in the organization’s history (nearly seven years) and the most consecutive UFC victories (16) and has now successfully transitioned to boxing. Silva announced his return as a world-class boxer in June 2021 when he soundly defeated former middleweight boxing champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., via split decision that wasn’t as close as the scores indicated.
Despite the mutual admiration, Paul predicted the bout won’t go past five rounds and pledged to get a spider tattoo if Silva wins on October 29.
Here’s a sampling of what the participants had to say at Monday’s press conference:
Photos: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
“I signed up for the hardest sport in the world and I love it. That’s what I’m built for, and I love a challenge. I grew up idolizing (Silva). For me this is even surreal that I’m even sitting here, I need to take a moment to be like, ‘Is this real with all the cameras?’ I was sitting on a couch watching this guy as a kid and here we are.
“Anderson Silva is the nicest person, and we love him. If my opponent is a di**head, I’m going to treat him like a di**head and beat his ass. But I respect this man, I’m still going to knock him out, but respectfully knock him out.
“I’m built for this, sparring world champions in the gym getting ready for Anderson. Obviously he’s a southpaw, my first time going up against a southpaw. But I love this, man. I truly feel I was put on earth and destined to box, and this will be my biggest stage yet and biggest test yet. But I’m a young man and I’m excited to get this experience under my belt because the fights are just going to keep on getting bigger. This is just the start.
“Only been preparing as a pro really for three years, I made my pro debut less than three years ago. But time management is crucial. We have the best coaches, the best nutrition, and we just work hard man, that’s been the key to my success and the key to my brother’s success is just nonstop work every single day, showing up and being present you know? And to be honest man I’m addicted to this, so no matter how hard I have to work (I do it).
“This is it. This is a make-or-break moment. I know I have someone who just beat a world champion of boxing right in front of me.
“Played them like a fiddle (the MMA community). Got them watching. In my pocket.
“If you beat me, I’ll get a spider tattoo.
“I have an opponent who is a real professional who will make weight and I won’t have to worry about doing a whole training camp.
“On the inside he gets a little shifty. We have sparring partners who will imitate him. He is the first southpaw I’m facing.”
“It won’t go more than five.”
“First of all, guys, everyone needs to respect this guy. Why? Because it opens the door for everyone to think about something new and I’m so excited and so happy to be here. How many years ago did you come to take a picture with your brother? I fought a lot in my entire life and I’m here again with the new generation. That’s the proof that everyone can do anything in their life if you believe in yourself and you have the passion and love.
“The energy involved in this fight is so amazing. A lot of people think about, ‘Anderson you’re crazy, why do you do that?’ You know what, that’s a good challenge for me because Gabriel and Elias and my son Kalyl beat me every day in the boxing training and I say, ‘I can do that, I think I can do that you know?’
“Boxing in my life is very special because I grew up watching a lot of boxing and training with Brazilian coaches. I come to this sport to show my respect to the sport and the professional fighters. I’m happy to be here to continue my job at 47.
“First of all, my motivation is that I love it. I love combat sports. Second of all, I have five kids. I love challenges my entire life. Every single time people ask me why I do this, I say I’m doing something I love.
“I train every day. I won’t stop training. I keep working because that’s my life. I will pass this to the new generation, do your best.
“You don’t need to get a spider tattoo. I know you’re my fan. I’m your fan too. Big fan. I hate tattoos bro. I don’t have tattoos.
“It’s the same energy, a fight is a fight. I’m training and doing my best.”
Four-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield made his return to the ring on Saturday night against former UFC star Vitor Belfort at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, and it didn’t last long.
With former president Donald Trump in the house, Belfort came out quick and dropped Holyfield twice in the first round. The 58-year-old would survive the knockdowns, and ultimately, after Belfort swarmed Holyfield one more time, the fight was stopped at 1:49 in the first round, and Belfort would get the TKO victory in the Triller Fight Club main event.
Holyfield looked like a 58-year-old man on Saturday night, which is okay because, after all, he’s 58 years old.
Holyfield, who beat Mike Tyson twice in the 90s and last fought in 2011, wants to fight the 55-year-old Tyson despite the loss.
“I wasn’t able to bounce back like I used to,” Holyfield said. “I let him get too close. But he’s strong, and he pushed me, but I wasn’t hurt. I’m not hurt at all. Yes, I’m still interested in fighting Mike Tyson.”
While the 44-year-old Belfort, who fought Holyfield after Oscar De La Hoya withdrew from the fight due to Covid, was happy with the victory and called out Youtube sensation Jake Paul.
“You never judge how many victories you have; you judge by the quality of your opponents,” Belfort said. “When you fight someone, the two warriors gain immediate respect for each other,” he said. “For me, to be able to compete with Holyfield is a dream.
“Yes, I challenge Jake Paul to a thirty-million-dollar winner-take-all fight; he cannot say no to me; he needs a real fight.”
After this performance, let’s hope this is the last time we see Holyfield in the ring. Clearly, he has nothing much to offer. However, Triller still might be able to sell an exhibition fight with Tyson.
In other action on the card:
ANDERSON ‘THE SPIDER’ SILVA, (3-1, 2 KOs), knocked out ‘THE HUNTINGTON BEACH BAD BOY’ TITO ORTIZ, (0-1), with a stunning overhand right to the head dropping Ortiz to the canvas. With Ortiz unable to beat the count the fight was stopped at 1:21 of the round.
“I’m so happy, my team and I worked so hard,” said Silva. “I just try to enjoy every single moment inside the ring. Thanks to God for giving me one more time to do my job.”
“The training is tough and that makes me feel ready for everything inside the ring. The entire team pushes me every day. I prepare my body and my mind for war and tonight I won. I’m not sure what’s next, just to go home and be with my family.”
In a battle of former friends, Former Unified Cruiserweight World Champion and Former Heavyweight World Champion DAVID ‘THE HAYEMAKER’ HAYE, (29-4, 26 KOs), solidly defeated JOE ‘THE BILLIONAIRE’ FOURNIER, (9-1, 9 KOs), in their eight-round clash. Scores were 80-71 and 79-72 (twice) as Haye flashed moments of brilliance throughout the fight against the outgunned Fournier.
“It felt really good to be back in the ring,” said the victorious Haye. “I haven’t hit a bag in three years, no sparring but I had four weeks of preparation for this and I got in there and felt fresh. I felt sharp, my timing was good. I wanted to give eight rounds of good entertainment and that’s what I did.”
“Now I feel like I’m ready to do some big things. I went out there and did exactly what I was going to do. Tyson Fury has been in my mind for a long time since 2013 when we were scheduled to fight. I’ve always wanted that fight and I’ve seen him getting better and better. I know I can beat him, I know his style, I know what he does well. My attributes don’t work for his style and he and his team know that.”
In a thrilling ten-round junior lightweight battle, Ireland’s JONO “KING KONG’ CARROLL, (22-6, 5 KOs), was victorious over ANDY ‘EL TIBURON’ VENCES, (23-3-1, 12 KOs), by way of majority decision. Scores were 95-95 and 97-93 twice. An even fight in the first half, the southpaw Carroll would pull away in the latter half of the fight with damaging combinations against the valiant Vences.
Said Carroll, “It’s fantastic to get this big win, it’s been a very tough year. But they say you have to sacrifice to really succeed in life. It’s never been a matter of if, only when I’m going to accomplish these goals. And now in 2022 I’m set up to fight for a world title and become a world champion. When I become a world champion I can build on the next chapter in my life.
A win like tonight and it all becomes worth it.”
In a preliminary bout, ANTHONY CHAVEZ, (9-1-1, 3 KOs), and DIUHL OLGUIN, (15-19-5, 10 KOs) fought to a majority draw in their junior lightweight bout. Scores were 58-56 for Chavez and 57-57, twice.
Also, ELIEZER SILVA, (1-0), made a successful pro debut against TERRY ROSCOE, (2-6), in their four round middleweight fight. Scores were 39-36 on all three scorecards for Silva.
Photo: Triller Fight Club/Amanda Westcott