The news cycle on mixed martial arts greats competing in boxing was a busy one yesterday. As the combat sports realm learned that a Paul brother may tangle with a "Spider" soon, and a "Phenom" will now make his professional boxing debut in September.
Anderson Silva vs Logan Paul being negotiated
The idea of a bout between YouTube star turned boxer Logan Paul and Ultimate Fighting Championship legend Anderson Silva first became possible, after Bellator talent Dillon Danis leaked a private text regarding a hypothetical card headlined by the pair. However, yesterday, that rumor became more real when ESPN's Mike Coppinger reported that Paul's manager Jeff Levin had confirmed negotiations were underway for the fight.
The viability of Anderson Silva as a professional boxer became legitimate last month when the former UFC middleweight king stunned the combat sports world and outboxed former WBC middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. to win his boxing debut by split-decision.
The victory opened the door for the 46-year-old to receive bigger opportunities, and the wait wasn't long with the news of a possible clash with Paul.
In Paul, 26, "The Spider" isn't necessarily getting a stiffer test, but instead a much brighter spotlight and a bigger paycheck. Paul and his brother Jake have become major brand names in boxing by getting their millions of fans, cultivated from YouTube and social media, to drop serious cash down to watch them compete on pay-per-view.
Just a couple of weeks before Silva defeated Chavez, Jr., Paul fought former multi-division champion and boxing legend Floyd Mayweather in an exhibition bout that reportedly earned a million buys on PPV. Paul has an official boxing record of 0-1.
Vitor Belfort vs Oscar Dela Hoya switched to pro bout
In other MMA vs boxing news, Coppinger also reported that the planned matchup between former multi weight-class champion in Oscar Dela Hoya and another UFC great in Vitor Belfort will not be an exhibition bout as originally planned. Instead, the fight's result will be an official addition to either man's boxing record.
"Oscar De La Hoya-Vitor Belfort no longer being planned as an exhibition, Triller’s Ryan Kavanaugh tells ESPN. Now a real fight. Eight two-minute rounds contested at 180 pounds (+5 pounds). Per sources, preliminarily approved by California commission. Sept. 11 at Staples Center," Coppinger wrote.
The bout will be "The Golden Boy's" return to fighting after retiring from boxing following a 2008 loss to Manny Pacquiao. In his time away, Dela Hoya, 48, went from being a star competitor to one of the biggest promoters in the industry. Representing boxing superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez at one time.
Belfort, 44, has not competed since a 2018 knockout loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 224. The former UFC light heavyweight champion signed to fight for Asian MMA powerhouse ONE Championship in February of 2019. However, a debut fight was never booked and he officially parted ways with the organization last month.