Former NBA All-Star Deron Williams defeated former NFL Pro Bowler Frank Gore via split decision (38-37, 37-38, 40-35) in an exhibition boxing match Saturday in Tampa.
The four-round heavyweight fight, which took place on the undercard of the Jake Paul versus Tyron Woodley rematch, marked Gore’s and Williams’ boxing debut.
Williams said in his postfight interview he will not return to the ring following the bout, referring to his boxing venture as “one and done.” Gore was undecided on his fighting future.
The 6-foot-3 Williams used his significant reach advantage over the 5-foot-9 Gore to land at a higher rate on the feet early in the fight. Gore struggled to close the distance and connect on Williams.
Gore opened up more in the second round, wobbling Williams with a right hand before the contest turned into a sloppy slugfest. The pair pushed each other through the ropes at various points of the frame.
Both men – especially Gore – were visibly tired in the second half of the match. Williams rocked Gore in the third round and landed the slightly better shots down the home stretch to edge a decision.
Williams, a former point guard who retired from basketball in 2017, has trained in mixed martial arts and boxing for years. He owns a stake in Fortis MMA, a top MMA gym located in Dallas.
The 37-year-old was a three-time All-Star with the Utah Jazz and Brooklyn Nets, and he also spent time with the Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers. Williams is a two-time Olympic gold medalist with the United States men’s basketball team.
Gore, 38, had been training in boxing for several months before scheduling the fight with Williams. He spent 16 years in the NFL, most of which came with the San Francisco 49ers.
Gore ranks third all time in rushing yards in the league with 16,000. He most recently played football in 2020 with the New York Jets.