Former NFL Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore and former NBA All-Star Deron Williams made their professional boxing debuts on Saturday night.
Ahead of the fight, they were candid about their reasoning for agreeing to the bout.
“I decided to take this fight because of my indecision around football. I’ve been around boxing for a long time, more than 12 years,” Gore said in a written statement.
“If I wasn’t going to play football, I wanted to take a shot and see where I’m at.”
Williams, a three-time NBA All-Star and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, also shared his rationale for entering the ring.
“I’ve been training stand-up and boxing for eight to 10 years,” Williams said. “I’ve sparred against high-level UFC guys that are bigger than me, that are my size and that are smaller than me.”
Naturally, the Florida crowd favored Gore, who is a Miami native.
Williams looked a bit more aggressive than Gore in the first round, but that was not the case for long.
In the second round, Gore replicated the tone set by Williams, but it appeared that the momentum might shift when Williams pushed Gore out of the ring with just under a minute remaining. Again, the former NFL player mirrored his opponent as he responded by shoving Williams.
The back-and-forth nature of the fight continued through the remaining two rounds. Williams was declared the winner via split decision, but it might be his only boxing victory as Williams said he was “one-and-done” after that fight.
Gore, on the other hand, wasn’t as quick to put an end to his boxing career. When asked if this would be his only fight, he replied with a noncommittal response of, “We’ll see. I had fun tonight.”
Plenty of the combatants’ peers, including DeMar DeRozan, Isaiah Thomas and Marlon Humphrey, tuned in to the fight and commented on the results.
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