By: Sean Crose
The Jake Paul-Tommy Fury undercard just added another fight…between two athletes from other sports. This is nothing new in the era of novelty boxing, but people seem to like it, so there we are. And so, on December 18th, NFL standout Frank Gore will face NBA standout Deron Williams at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The fight is scheduled for four rounds and will be held at a 215 pound weight limit. To his credit, ESPN is reporting that “Gore has been training in boxing for years and actually declined advances from NFL teams this season to focus on his first fight. His manager is longtime fight rep Malki Kawa of First Round Management, who also reps NFL players.”
ESPN is also reporting that Williams “has trained for years in mixed martial arts. He’s a part-owner in the highly regarded Fortis MMA gym in Dallas, which is where he will train for this bout under coach Sayif Saud.” Fight fans can at least be satisfied knowing Gore and Williams actually LIKE combat sports. That may not be the case with some people engaging in high profile novelty bouts. It appears that such bouts are at least as much about being in the public eye as they are about boxing.
Needless to say, this will be the first professional fight for each man. Also worth noting is the fact that both men are closer to forty than they are thirty – Gore is 38, Williams is 37. With all that being said, Gore and Williams have personal records of tremendous athleticism. Gore still holds the record as being third in rushing for the NFL. Williams, on the other hand, has been an NBA All Star on numerous occasions. He has also won an Olympic Gold Medal as a part of the United States’ Olympic team.
Novelty bouts have taken the boxing world by storm in the past year. Things really kicked off last November when Mike Tyson battled Roy Jones Jr in an insanely lucrative exhibition bout. Since then, the Paul brothers have literally become two of the biggest draws in combat sports. As long as people keep paying to watch, novelty bouts will continue to be a prominent part of the fight game.
“I’m excited to be fighting on this card and can’t wait to show the world what I’ve been working on,” Gore claims. “Boxing has me excited, and on Dec. 18 expect fireworks!”
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