Deron Williams beats Frank Gore via split decision in wild boxing debut

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Frank Gore’s boxing debut didn't quite go as planned Saturday night.

Gore, one of the best running backs in NFL history, fell to longtime NBA guard Deron Williams via split decision at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, ahead of Jake Paul’s rematch with Tyron Woodley.

“I let him hit me and I didn’t hit back. I’m still learning, but it is what it is,” Gore said after the fight on Showtime PPV. “He came out, fought hard and got the W.”

Williams landed a few strong right hands to Gore’s head in the opening round, though the two went back to their corners about even. Though Gore landed a few solid shots in the second, Williams seemed to find his groove and picked up an advantage in the final minute of the round. Suddenly, though, Williams shoved Gore nearly completely through the ropes and out of the ring — which prompted the official to pause the fight.

Just seconds later, after the two of them got caught together, Gore nearly returned the favor and sent Williams halfway through the ropes. Williams shoved Gore to the ground momentarily before the end of the round, though both walked away unscathed.

Williams finally took his shot in the third, landing a huge knockdown after a couple of punches nearly sent Gore through the ropes while he struggled to defend himself.

By the end, Williams landed nine more punches than Gore and was given the split decision win in the exhibition fight.

“I’m gonna go sit my old dumba** down somewhere and let these professionals do their s***,” Williams said in the ring. “Honestly, I probably looked terrible out there. … As soon as you get out here and you start getting touched, all your training goes out the window. It was fun, I’m glad I had the chance to come out here and do it, but like I thought coming into this, I’m one and done.”

Williams played 12 seasons in the NBA from 2005-17, and spent time with the Utah Jazz, Nets, Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers. The three-time All-Star averaged 16.3 points and 3.6 assists in 845 games throughout his career.

Williams was a former state wrestling champion in high school and co-owns an MMA gym in the Dallas area.

Gore played in the league from 2005-20, most notably with the San Francisco 49ers. He last played for the New York Jets in 2020, rushing for 653 yards and two touchdowns. Gore also had a short three-season run with the Indianapolis Colts and spent a season each with the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills.

In total, Gore has exactly 16,000 rushing yards, the third most in NFL history, and 81 touchdowns. He’s also third in total carries and total touches, and fourth in yards from scrimmage. Gore hasn’t officially retired, either, and said he turned down three teams who tried to sign him this offseason.

Though it’s unclear if Gore will attempt to make a return to the league or if he will keep boxing, his fight with Williams on Saturday night was incredibly entertaining.

While Williams was adamant that he wouldn’t do this again, Gore wasn’t as definitive.

“We’ll see. I had fun tonight,” Gore said about a possible return. “I’m going to go back and talk to my team and see what I have to learn.”

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