Sunday, October 14, 2012
Running out of words to describe the greatest
Originally I thought that when I wrote about what transpired in the main event at UFC 153, I was going to be writing a story using the Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed analogy. In other words, Stephen 'The American Psycho' Bonnar (15-8, 3 KO's 7 subs) AKA Rocky, would go the distance with Anderson 'The Spider' Silva (33-4, 20 KO's 6 subs) AKA Apollo; while taking a great beating and losing the decision.
That's Bonnar's M.O. right? I mean, regardless of what you think of him as a fighter, he's like a Timex watch; he takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Before Saturday night, he had never been stopped in a fight and of all his losses, only two were stopped by a doctor due to cuts. However, before Saturday night, he had never fought the greatest fighter in the world and most likely, the greatest fighter in mixed martial arts history.
When you're referred to as "The Greatest" it appears that should be enough. Yet, when it comes to Anderson Silva (pictured above), it seems as though we are running out of words to describe his greatness. Forget words, at this point, we are literally running out of cliches; "He's a man among boys," "He toys with his opponents," "He doesn't break a sweat when he fights." Shall I go on?
I know it may seem as though I am stroking Anderson Silva's greatness, but what I witnessed on Saturday night was just the latest example of what I'm talking about. This was a challenge for Silva; not against Bonnar, but rather against himself. He literally let Bonnar; have his way for four minutes at trying to do all he could before he said to himself, "Enough is enough; now it's my turn."
As the fight began, in front of a sold out home country crowd in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, Bonnar charged at Silva determined to take the fight to the overwhelming favorite. Fighting at light-heavyweight (205 lbs.), Bonnar had a clear size advantage over the reigning middleweight (185 lbs.) champion, though Silva came in weighing 202 lbs. for the fight. Thus, he figured his best chance was to go right at the champ and pin him against the fence, while punishing him with some dirty boxing.
It was honestly a good strategy, against most mortal men; but we are talking about the best here; a martial artist who truly appreciates the sweet science of hitting someone and not getting hit. Thus, instead of panicking or attempting to get out from Bonnar's clinch against the fence. Silva welcomed it. It was a personal challenge for Silva and he was determined to meet it head on.
So, when he finally did break free and got away, he did something only Anderson Silva would do. He literally walked back to the fence with his back against it and invited Bonnar in; he did this not once, but twice. At first I thought he was being somewhat disrespectful towards Bonnar, like telling him his skills were not worthy. However, I quickly realized it's just Silva's way of personally challenging himself; in other words, not conceit, but confidence in his skills.
True to form, he let Bonnar do all he could for four minutes, blocking all of his punches with cat like reflexes and dodging punches with radar like instincts reminiscent of former boxing champion Wilfredo 'El Radar' Benitez. After playing defense, he decided he'd had enough and it was time to go on the offensive. A few quick short punches created enough space to back Bonnar up and eventually have him turn his back and when he turned back around, he was greeted by a perfectly thrown left knee that caught him in the solar plexus.
If you've ever been hit there, you know it literally knocks the wind out of you. Thus, it resulted in Bonnar collapsing to the mat and Silva pouncing on him with a few punishing punches before the referee decided to step in and stop the inevitable at 4:40 of the first round; so much for my Rocky Balboa/Apollo Creed story.
If there is one thing that truly bothers me is that the word 'great' is tossed around way too loosely in sports. 'Great' is described in the dictionary with words such as unusual, wonderful and "being of an extreme or notable degree." Therefore, it should be reserved for those that are truly one of a kind and masters of their craft; in other words greatness! I'm running out of words to describe the greatest Anderson Silva, but one thing's for sure, the word great is not being overused when it comes to his greatness.
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