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Former Jazz guard Deron Williams wins 1st boxing match

Frank Gore, left, and Deron Williams box during the first round of a heavyweight special attraction fight Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.

Frank Gore, left, and Deron Williams box during the first round of a heavyweight special attraction fight Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (Chris O'Meara, Associated Press)



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY β€” Former Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams' first boxing match may be his last.

Williams defeated former NFL running back Frank Gore via split decision (38-37, 37-38, 40-35) Saturday night on the Jake Paul-Tyron Woodley undercard at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.

After the win, he said he'd probably go and sit down somewhere and let the real boxers take it from there.

"Honestly, I probably looked terrible out there," he said. "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."

But that one proved to be quite entertaining β€” and nothing more so than the second round knockdown from Williams, even if it was more of a push down.

After Gore tried to wrap up Williams, the former NBA All-Star broke free and threw a couple punches before he pushed Gore through the ropes to the apron.

"I always was a physical point guard," Williams said. "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."

Gore came back with his own push, which forced the referee to remind the two what sport they were participating in β€” hey, they weren't used to this after all; iIt was both Williams' and Gore's first fight.

Williams outlanded Gore in total punches 48-39 and power punches 35-28, per CompuBox. Williams had a 12-5 advantage in the fourth and final round, showing he had a bit more stamina than the former All-Pro running back. Williams has spent years training in MMA, and is even the part owner of a gym in Dallas, so that wasn't too much of a surprise.

The 6-foot-3 Williams used his height and reach advantage, and had some strong moments where it looked like he may be able to knock out Gore.

"He won the fight tonight. He fought hard. I fought hard. I just still have to learn some stuff," Gore said. "He did a good job tonight. We'll see if I fight again. I had fun tonight. I'll go back and talk to my team to see what's next."

The fight was originally supposed to be a professional match, but the Florida State Boxing Commission surprisingly switched it to an exhibition match on Friday. That means the win won't go on Williams' official boxing record.

So if it ends up really being his only boxing match, he won't have an actual record; but that didn't seem to be a big deal to him following the win.

"Maybe I gained some new fans, but I'm just glad I made my team happy and my family proud," Williams said. "My mom was nervous. She didn't want to watch and see her son beaten up, so I hope she was proud of that."

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