Deron Williams and Frank Gore didn’t put on any world class display of technical boxing skill, but the former NBA and NFL stars gave fans in Tampa and on Showtime pay-per-view plenty of entertainment in tonight’s four-round bout.
Williams beat Gore by split decision, scoring a third round knockdown when Gore was held up by the ropes. Given that this was officially an exhibition, it doesn’t go on anyone’s professional boxing record — that is, it doesn’t start a professional boxing record for either of them — and you also have to think the scoring was delivered with a bit of a wink, too.
In short, there’s really no way you could have scored this fight for Gore, the multiple-time NFL Pro Bowler and longtime standout running back, an iron man known for his toughness and longevity at a position where careers often burn hard and fast.
Scores were 38-37 and 40-35 for Williams, and one card of 38-37 for Gore. The 40-35 card is probably correct; I had it 39-36 for Williams, giving Gore the fourth round for a couple of reasons. First, it doesn’t matter, and second, I don’t care very much, but yeah, Williams won this fight.
But while this wasn’t a top-drawer display, it also wasn’t totally unskilled. It’s clear both men have trained for some time, have an idea what they’re doing, and are also excellent athletes. I mean, we’ve seen far worse fighters challenge for world titles this weekend.
Tempers did flare a good bit when Gore kept sort of making tackling motions at Williams when he’d get tagged with right hands in the first couple rounds, and Williams eventually lost his cool and shoved Gore through the ropes to the ring apron. Gore took some time, spoke to the doctor, and fought on — then pretty quickly threw Williams to the canvas when it resumed.
From there, things settled down, though it was still rough and a real fight. If nothing else, Williams vs Gore should renew respect for the mentality it takes to be an honest to God professional fighter, even one far from the top of the rankings.
“I’m gonna go sit my old, dumb ass down somewhere, and let these professionals do their shit,” Williams said with a smile. “Honestly, I probably looked terrible out there. Soon as you get out here and start getting touched, all your training goes out the window. I’m one-and-done.”
“I would say that I just — I let him hit me and I didn’t back, because I’m still learning. But it is what it is. He came out here, fought hard, and got the W, I’m good with it. It’s all good, he won the fight tonight. He fought hard, I fought hard. I’ve just gotta learn some stuff. I’m not used to punching to get out, but he did a good job tonight. I’m good.”
“We’ll see,” Gore said when asked if he would fight again. “I had fun tonight. I’m gonna go back and learn.”
Deron Williams vs Frank Gore fight highlights
Liam Paro SD-10 Yomar Alamo
A very close fight, no real arguing with the scoring for me. Paro got a pair of cards, 95-94 and 96-93, while Alamo got one, 95-94. Bad Left Hook also had it 95-94 for Alamo, but there were several close rounds in this fight and it was just a nip-and-tuck kind of thing most of the way.
Alamo (20-1-1, 12 KO) scored a first round knockdown on a nice counter shot, but never threatened to put Paro (22-0, 13 KO) down again. Truthfully, I don’t think either of these guys were exactly sending any fear out into the 140 lb division right now. Paro, a 25-year-old Australian, had trouble controlling the distance he wanted and cutting off the ring, while Alamo, a 26-year-old Puerto Rican, fought at about the level we’ve seen him fight at before, pretty good but not something you look at and say, “Now there’s an emerging, real contender.”
But it’s a win for Paro and he’ll get his chance to do something bigger, you would assume. If you just get out there and win you get your chances, and this was a solid U.S. debut for him against a decent opponent.