Roy Jones Jr., 44, is an all-time great in boxing. Anderson Silva, 38, is arguably the all-time great in MMA. And the pair want to box each other, Silva sometimes almost obsessively so.
Now ESPN is reporting that Jones, has not fought since June 2012, wants a tune up fight in Russia as a warm-up for "The Spider."
Many have called for Jones to retire. He is years past his prime and has suffered four brutal knockout losses in his past seven defeats, but he has ignored those calls. Instead, his main goal is secure a victory against the obscure and untested 36-year-old Eddine Benmakhlouf (17-3-1, 8 KOs), while shaking off the rust of his long layoff in order to be ready for the fight he hopes will be made next -- a showdown with UFC star Anderson Silva in a boxing match in the first half of 2014.
"I want to be ready for Anderson Silva in case he beats Weidman," said Jones. "Silva has made it clear that if he wins, he wants me next. I'm here for him. That's a fight that intrigues a lot of people, but I can't fight Anderson Silva coming off such a long layoff. So I needed to get a fight first. If it wasn't for Anderson Silva calling me out, I wouldn't be fighting this fight."
Jones is on a two-fight win streak, but is in the twilight of his career, winning just seven of his last 13 fights. Three of the losses were by knockout.
Silva of course has lost just once since 2006. He hopes to avenge the defeat at UFC 168 on Dec. 28. After that, could a boxing match with Jones really be in store?
For Silva the reasoning is simple - he has admired Jones for decades, and wants to test his boxing skills. Jones has never articulated why he wants to box Anderson Silva. Perhaps he thinks a win over the former and perhaps future UFC champion would resurrect his career or at least his profile. Perhaps he wants to rep boxing in a boxing vs. MMA match up. Or perhaps he thinks it is easy money.