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Frank Gore calls for Deron Williams rematch, Williams maintains boxing ‘was a one-off’

Deron Williams has scratched his boxing itch and he’s sticking to his decision to not fight again.

The three-time NBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist made a successful boxing debut on Saturday, defeating NFL great Frank Gore by four-round unanimous decision in an exhibition bout on the main card of Showtime’s Paul vs. Woodley 2 event at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla.

After the decision was read, Williams said during his post-fight interview that he would be one-and-done in boxing and he reiterated that feeling at the evening’s press conference.

“I think I’m done,” Williams said. “I think that was a one-off for me. … Why? I mean it was just something that I wanted to do. It was like a bucket list thing. I did it. I’m not doing it for money, I’m not doing it for anything else, it was just the opportunity came at the right time, none of my kids had anything going on right now and so it was like a perfect storm.”

Williams was later joined by Gore at the press conference and the former pro running back praised Williams while also insisting that he consider a rematch. This was also the first boxing match for Gore, a 15-year NFL veteran.

“I thought he fought a hard fight and it was a good fight,” Gore said. “My first fight, it’s all good though. I wish — He said he was done, but I think we should run it back and see what would happen. Like I said before, both of us come from different sports and to get in the ring, I take my hat off to him like he feel the same with me.”

The match was a competitive, albeit sloppy affair with both men showing their inexperience. Williams worked to use his impressive reach advantage early while Gore showed some raw power in his hands, but the action often broke down into wild exchanges and ugly clinches.

At one point, Williams nearly shoved Gore out of the ring, but Gore didn’t raise much of a fuss about the incident afterwards. He did feel that Williams took advantage of the clinch situations by throwing punches as they were being told to separate and it’s that aspect of the fight that Gore believes he would improve on in a second fight.

“He’s a good dude,” Gore said. “He got the decision. I feel like he got the decision because some of the stuff where we clinched, on the break, I put my hands down and he hit me, but it’s all good though. I felt good, I was happy. It was fun.

“If he wants to run it back, I want to run it back, because now I know the little things and I think it would be a different outcome. I felt, like, in the middle of the rounds I was doing my thing. I just felt like he got the big shots and that’s what the judges saw, but I’m not making no excuses because I felt like he fought hard and I respect him.”

Williams was adamant that his boxing career is finished and went as far as to say that he’s not going to pursue a mixed martial arts bout either. In Williams’ corner for Saturday’s fight was Fortis MMA head coach Sayif Saud. Williams and Saud are co-owners of the Fortis MMA gym in Dallas.

The main reason that Williams cited for not wanting to make a major commitment to combat sports is that he wants to continue to dedicate time to his family, though the grueling nature of his fight with Gore is also a major factor.

“Honestly, my body damn near broke down trying to get through this one,” Williams said. “So that’s the other thing.”