April 19, 2009
They may be the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world but Anderson Silva much like Floyd Mayweather Jr. is becoming a target of ire for some fans. Just like he did against an overmatched opponent at UFC 90, Silva danced and mocked his opponent Thales Leites, instead of finishing him at UFC 97. Silva won easily via unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46 & 48-47) but he didn't win over many of the 20,000-plus in attendance at the Bell Centre. In fact, chants of "bull(expletive)" and "GSP" filled the arena from rounds 2-5. Even worse, watching the best fighter in the UFC "do his thing" wasn't good enough for thousands of fans who headed for the exits before the start of the fifth round.
It was obvious from the get-go that Leites didn't have the game to hang with Silva on the feet and had little interest in trading with "The Spider." He tried often to shoot and then fall on his back to sucker Silva to come into his guard but the UFC middleweight champ wouldn't bite. Instead of smashing Leites on the ground, he put on a show trying to look bored, frustrated and uninterested. In some ways you can't blame him, there isn't a whole lot to threaten him in the 185 pound weight class. He's already made one journey into the 205 pound division and it's probably time to get him back up there against some heavier punchers.
Floyd Jr. and Silva are tremendous fighters with unbelievable speed and defensive skills but they have to realize fans are paying big money to enter these arenas and even more collectively to witness the fights around the world on pay-per-view. This fight was very reminscent of Mayweather's win over jobber Carlos Baldomir back in 2006. He raced out to a 6-0 lead and then coasted. Fans at the MGM that night began hitting the exits in the eighth round.
Give Silva credit, when he received criticism during the UFC 97 postfight press conference about his performance, he feigned ignorance instead of crying like a baby and talking about retirement to call off the wolves like Floyd did during the Baldomir postfight presser.
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