Former Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams proved on Saturday that it’s never too late to mix things up. The three-time All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist took on legendary NFL running back Frank Gore in a boxing match as part of the Jake Paul-Tyron Woodley undercard.
It ultimately proved to be a successful debut in a new sport for D-Will, who won the four-round bout by split decision. However, he has no plans to embark on a new career in the fight game.
After beating Gore in what, at times, was a wild and woolly affair, Williams promptly announced his retirement from boxing.
“I’m gonna go sit my old dumb ass down somewhere and let these professionals do their s***,” Williams said after the fight, via the New York Post.
“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.”
A Strong Showing
Although Williams and Gore are similarly aged (at 37 and 38, respectively) and both appeared to be in great shape heading into the fight, D-Will leaned on his massive height and reach advantages during the first round. Along the way, he landed some strong blows to Gore’s head.
The intensity picked up in Round 2 when Gore seemingly tried to bring Williams down by his legs. In short order, the former Net responded with a flurry of punches, backing his opponent into the ropes. At that point, Williams shoved the NFL’s third all-time leading rusher out to the ring apron.
Nevertheless, Gore outlanded him 16-15 in total punches during the round.
Williams responded by scoring a knockdown on Gore in Round 3. However, his best round was the fourth, when he outlanded a fatigued Gore 12-5. By the end of the fight, he outlanded Gore 48-39 in total punches, 35-28 in power punches and 13-11 in jabs, as tracked by CompuBox.
Consequently, he won 38-37, 37-38, 40-35 per the judges’ scorecards.
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D-Will Is No Stranger to Combat Sports
For Williams, winning the fight was a matter of pride. He was intent on proving that the “soft” label that occasionally gets tagged to pro hoopers is an inaccurate one.
“I always was a physical point guard,” Williams said post-fight, via ESPN. “I never shied away from contact, and I showed that today. People think basketball players are soft, but I never was one. That’s what I was looking to accomplish here today.”
Williams wasn’t just a physical point guard, though. He was a lifetime of experience in various combat sports. As a youth in Texas, he won multiple state championships as a wrestler. More recently, he has trained in boxing and mixed martial arts. In 2015, he opened up the gym Fortis MMA in Dallas.
Since then he has sparred with high-level boxers and MMA fighters.