Why are Frank Gore and Deron Williams fighting? Ex-NFL, NBA stars welcome ‘challenge’ of first boxing match

On Saturday night, Frank Gore and Deron Williams will step into the ring for the first professional fight of each of their careers. The former NFL and NBA stars are boxing on the undercard of Jake Paul’s fight against Tyron Woodley, with each looking to get their first win.

But how did we get here? Part of this has to do with the age of celebrity boxing matches we currently live in. Former athletes and influencers alike have found ways to step into the ring and gain significant media attention during their fights.

While that happens, we will continue to see athletes in the twilight of their careers participate in these events. But for Gore and Williams, this fight goes beyond that.

This is not just another payment opportunity or a quick cash grab. Both players seem to legitimately love the box and want a chance to show that they can indeed win, or at least compete at this level.

Why is Frank Gore boxing?

Gore cross-trained as a football player and boxer while remaining an unsigned free agent during the 2021 NFL offseason. However, he revealed early in the NFL season that he had turned down offers from teams from the NFL. NFL to serve as a running back.

Why? Because he wanted to focus on his fighting training.

“I fell in love with how difficult it is,” Gore said. Ian Rapoport from NFL.com. “I felt like, ‘Man, I couldn’t fight.’ And I always like a challenge. So I just kept doing it and doing it and I just saw myself getting better and better.”

Gore also said that he “has always loved boxing” and was eager to make a fight happen. There was nothing concrete when he first spoke about his decision with Rapoport, but soon after, the opportunity to fight Williams arose. Now, it’s becoming a reality and Gore thinks he’s ready for the moment.

“I’m excited to be fighting on this card and I can’t wait to show the world what I’ve been working on,” Gore said in a statement. ESPN. “Boxing has me excited, and fireworks are expected on December 18!”

Why is Deron Williams boxing?

Williams’ path to the fight was a bit different than Gore’s in that Williams spent his youth fighting and won several state titles in Texas. He has also made it a big part of his life in his post-NBA days, and he owns an MMA gym in Texas, where he also trains.

“I have always been attracted to combat sports, I grew up fighting as the first sport”, Williams told MMAFighting.com. “I fought all the way to high school and have always been a huge boxing fan, a huge MMA fan, and a co-owner of Fortis MMA in Dallas, Texas, and have trained a lot there over the past six years. years.

“I always wanted to do it, I had the idea of ​​maybe having a fight, maybe an MMA fight. In fact, I had one just before the COVID hit that I was in training camp for and my opponent retired so it was always in the back of my mind and I kept fit and training. … It’s one of those opportunities that comes along and if I don’t take it, I feel like I would be kicking myself for not taking that opportunity for the rest of my life, so here I am. “

Williams admitted that some people think he is crazy about fighting Gore, who outpaces Williams despite being six inches shorter than the veteran point guard. But like Gore, he’s looking forward to the fight, facing the unknown and seeing if he can perform well in this “challenge.”

“There are a lot of unknowns in this fight and I think that’s what makes it exciting,” Williams said. “He’s been training for years, I’ve been training for years. I’ve been doing a lot of MMA, but a lot of the work I’ve done is boxing, so it’s not new to me. I’ve trained with a lot of guys from our gym, a lot. killers of our gym, and I’m excited about this challenge. “