And now, after the Cote and Leites bouts, Silva has taken another step in mirroring Jones. The charm of that creativity has now worn out. Because of Silva's stature as the sport's pound-for-pound best, just taking on tough challengers is no longer acceptable, just as Jones collecting world titles from Lou Del Valle, Reggie Johnson and Eric Harding was met with disappointment.
Virtually none of Silva's opponents have been able to hit him, not unlike the prime Jones. Fans and pundits alike expect truly great fighters to brutally dispatch opponents who have nothing for them, especially those great fighters with offensive acumen like Silva and Jones. Instead, Jones willfully opted to win lopsided unanimous decisions by 12- to 14-point scorecard margins, doing just enough to embarrass his opposition, throwing 40-some punches a round against dead-to-rites opponents. Silva, likewise, has succeeded only in making Cote and Leites inert, leg kicking and foot punching, while ultimately doing more damage to his own reputation than his foes’.
And, much like a prime Jones, Silva seems to care very little for the contempt that his last two performances have engendered. Their motivations may differ -- there was always discussion about Jones' fear for his own mortality, having seen fellow boxers die in the ring, a reality that doesn't present itself as vividly to Silva -- but Silva's insistence that “people don't get what happens in here” echoes Jones' refrains of the past.
Because both men are owners of vibrant, colorful personalities, it seemed natural that people expected them to be preoccupied with entertainment and accommodation. Instead, Jones was an antagonist of the media, while Silva meets his criticism with self-assured indifference.