MANILA, Philippines – Hall-of-Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach is impressed with the boxing skills of Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight king Anderson "The Spider" Silva of Brazil.
Roach was quoted by ESPN as saying that Silva is the best boxer in mixed martial arts (MMA).
"He is one of the best guys that really understands distance and timing. He fights off the ropes a little bit. I told him that can be a little bit dangerous sometimes and to be careful, but he'll suck you in, he'll set you up," Roach said.
"He is one of the most intelligent fighters I’ve ever seen and have ever worked with," he added.
Silva has reigned as the UFC’s top middleweight since 2006. He has won 14 consecutive fights and is widely regarded as the top pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world.
Roach gave Silva credit for remaining humble despite his numerous achievements.
"I had the honor of working with Silva when he was in our gym for about five or six days in a row. He told me, 'I'm pretty good at MMA, but I'm not too good at boxing.' He's just a real humble guy and very talented," Roach said.
After Silva, Roach said welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre is the second best boxer in MMA.
"GSP is one of the greatest guys in the world. He's a real gentleman and one of the best students I've ever had... He's a good guy and hard worker," Roach said of St. Pierre.
Roach also counts BJ Penn, Nick Diaz and KJ Noons among the top boxers in MMA.