Former NBA great Deron Williams may not have a future in boxing but he can say he got a win in his only fight.
Taking on NFL veteran Frank Gore as part of the Jake Paul vs. Tyron Woodley 2 card from Tampa, Fla., Williams made an admirable showing in his first bout as he displayed solid technique and serious power en route to a split decision victory.
The judges scored the fight 40-35 and 38-37 for Williams with the third official giving Gore a 38-37 scorecard. It was still enough for Williams to get the job done as the 37-year-old combat sports enthusiast celebrated what he says will be the only fight in his career.
“I’m going to go sit my old dumb ass down,” Williams said with a smile after his hand was raised. “I’m one and done.
“I knew I was going to have my advantage in the clinch and with my wrestling background so I used this to my advantage. I just wanted to prove to myself that I could get out here and do this. In my mind, we’re both winners.”
The former NBA All-Star was definitely the more disciplined fighter as he threw straight punches including a well-timed jab with a power shot behind it. Meanwhile, Gore was pure aggression without a lot of technique behind his punches and he actually clinched with a takedown attempt before the referee broke the fighters apart.
While he wasn’t setting up his combinations as much, Gore was still throwing with a lot of pop behind his punches and Williams had to respect that during the exchanges. Still, Williams was connecting with much cleaner shots as he snapped Gore’s head around on several occasions.
Midway through the second round, Gore blasted Williams with a hard right hand that seemingly wobbled his much taller opponent. In return, Williams rushed ahead with a flurry and he ended up pushing Gore through the ropes in a wild series.
That was just the start of the madness as Williams and Gore started pushing each other around the ring, which forced the referee to remind them that they were in a boxing match.
Williams started putting on more pressure in the third that resulted in another hard right hand landing, which put Gore into the ropes again except this time the referee actually ruled it a knockdown. While Gore survived the standing eight count, the referee believed the ropes kept him up after Williams stung him several times in succession.
For all the ways Williams was the crisper boxer, Gore kept him honest with that same right hand that counted as his best punch in the fight. As the final seconds ticked away, Williams was on the attack in an effort to secure the victory while Gore saw his gas tank running low.
Despite the knockdown, one judge still managed to give Gore the win but ultimately it didn’t matter as Williams got the other two scorecards in what was actually an exhibition bout being overseen by the Florida commission.
While he leaves with a loss, Gore says he’ll discuss the future with his team before deciding if this will be his only boxing match as well.
“He came out and fought hard and got the [win],” Gore said when addressing Williams. “He won the fight tonight. He did a good job tonight. We’ll see [if I’ll fight again]. I had fun tonight.”