On December 18th, the boxing world will witness two rather interesting bouts taking place at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The main event that evening will see the undefeated prince of boxing, Jake Paul, taking on Tyron Woodley in a rematch 192-lb catchweight bout. The other bout of note on this card will be former NFL running back Frank Gore taking on former NBA Star Deron Williams in a four-round heavyweight fight.
Below, SBS takes a deeper dive into the two separate fights and what each fighter brings to the table. Make sure to check out the predictions as well!
What to look for from Paul: Nicknamed “The Problem Child,” Paul currently holds a 4-0 record with three knockouts in his short but highly entertaining boxing career. Since becoming a boxing professional, Paul’s wins have come against a variety of opponents. This includes victories over former NBA Slam Dunk Champion Nate Robinson (knockout), retired MMA fighter Ben Askren (knockout), and former UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley (split decision). Though Paul’s victories have not featured traditional boxers, they still all have showcased high-level athletes with some background in combat sports. The big question though is if Paul can keep up with a traditionally-trained boxer for the duration of an eight-round bout.
What to look for from Woodley: The former UFC Welterweight Champion with four title defenses to his name, Woodley is one of the most accomplished fighters in recent combat sports memory. Along with his success in MMA, the Missouri native also was a two-time All-American in wrestling for the Missouri Tigers. With that in mind, Woodley has yet to find his first victory in the professional boxing world. When Paul and Woodley last faced off, the bout came to a split decision in favor of Paul, with one judge scoring the fight 77-75 for Woodley. Could the tides turn this time? One would be wise to never count out a former UFC Champion.
|Catchweight Bout||Jake Paul||Tyron Woodley|
|Nickname||The Problem Child||The Chose One|
|Height||6 ft 0 in||5 ft 9 in|
|Pre-fight record||4-0 (3 KOs)||0-1|
Prediction: Though Paul has surprised many casual boxing observers with his wins against established combat sports veterans, he still has some ways to go to impress the boxing public. However, with Tommy Fury dropping out due to injury prior to this fight and Woodley having not as much time to prepare, look for Paul to take home the victory once again. Though he is not a classically-trained fighter, Paul is pumping more attention on the sport like few others have in recent memory. The fight will be a spectacle and look for Paul to win via decision.
What to look for from Williams: A three-time NBA All-Star and two-time gold medalist on the United State national team, Williams will be preparing for his boxing debut later this month. Standing at six feet, three inches, and 200 lbs, Williams is an avid MMA and boxing fan. Though he has not fought professionally since his retirement from the NBA in 2017, Williams does own a stake in Fortis MMA and has trained for years in mixed martial arts and boxing. While the former University of Illinois point guard is a big supporter of boxing, it remains to be seen if he can back it up in the ring against one of the most durable and consistently successful running backs of all time.
What to look for from Gore: A member of the NFL’s 2010s All-Decade Team, Gore’s career has been noted for its longevity and tenacity. The former University of Miami Hurricane holds the NFL record for games played at the running back position with 241, a remarkable number for his position. Since being selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft, Gore has had a remarkable career in the NFL. Though he is not officially retired, he is currently third all-time among NFL players in career rushing yards at 16,000.
Prediction: In what will be a matchup of contrasting styles, Williams vs. Gore will finally answer the age-old, yet seldomly answered, the question of could a professional basketball player beat up a professional football player? Certainly, no one has asked this question since the days of the 1980’s Pistons or in your junior high school locker room, but later this month we will get the final verdict. That said, the answer will be a resounding victory for Gore who is one of the toughest running backs of all time and should defy the reach disadvantage the same way he defied Father Time all those years in the NFL.
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