After having great careers in the football field and the basketball court respectively, two athletes will try their luck in the boxing ring.
Yesterday in New York, Frank Gore and Deron Williams had a face off for the first time before their bout taking place at the Amalie Arena in Tampa December 18th. It will be the first pro bout for each man as part of the Jake Paul-Tommy Fury fight card which will be shown live on Showtime PPV.
Frank Gore is known for being one of the most durable running backs in the NFL playing for 16 seasons, and being a five-time Pro Bowler. This was a feat that many did not think would happen after Gore suffered serious knee injuries at the University of Miami. He finished his pro career with 16,000 rushing yards which is good for third on the all-time list for NFL running backs. Now he is going in the boxing ring to face Williams, but he mentioned that he has been training with boxing gloves for a while.
“l have always loved boxing,” Gore said. “I’ve been training since 2005. I was doing it for the cardio, because it would save my legs since I play running back. I just fell in love with it.”
In this bout against Williams, he is aware that his opponent has been training in combat sports himself.
“I know he’s trained in MMA and coming over from the NBA but he’s no Nate Robinson. He’s been doing
MMA for six years so I have to respect that. He’s been wrestling since he was a kid.”
“I’m training my behind off and the only one I can worry about is myself. I’m looking forward to the challenge and let the best man win on December 18th.”
Williams was a three time All-Star in the NBA over his 12 year career after being the third overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. He had good seasons while playing for the Utah Jazz and New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets before finishing his career with the Dallas Mavericks and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even though he is known for his skills on the basketball court, he was a wrestler since the age of 5. That amount of experience led him to train in mixed martial arts near the end of his NBA career and he has been training since.
“I’ve done a lot of training at my gym Fortis MMA in Dallas for the past six years,” Williams said. “I’ve always wanted to do an MMA fight. I had one that I was training for before Covid hit but my opponent pulled out. It was always in the back of my mind and I’ve always stayed in shape and stayed training.”
When Williams got the call to fight Gore, he jumped at the chance to be in the boxing ring.
“I felt like it was a great opportunity. I felt like if I didn’t take it I’d be kicking myself for the rest of my life. I’ve had some people say, ‘You’re fighting Frank Gore. What are you doing?’ But that’s OK. There are a lot of unknowns in this game, so it makes it exciting.”
Both Williams and Gore are avid fans of the sport, as they named the likes of Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Floyd Mayweather, Errol Spence, and Terence Crawford as their favorite fighters over the years. In a few weeks, they will both be able to say that they were competitors in the ring.