After rushing for 16,000 yards in the NFL, Frank Gore is entering the next phase of his career as a professional athlete and stepping into the boxing ring. On Saturday, Gore had his first pro boxing match on his 39th birthday against Yaya Olorunsola in Biloxi, Miss., for Gamebred Boxing. Gore took the bout furiously, knocking out Olorunsola in the fourth round.
It’s great to see Gore redeem himself in the ring after his exhibition loss to former NBA All-Star guard Deron Williams. Williams took the split decision over Gore, then promptly retired from combat fighting afterward. Gore expressed an interest in a rematch with Williams following the fight, but he’ll not likely receive that opportunity.
Certain parts of the fight against Williams were embarrassing, so it was good for Gore to have the kind of showing he did against Olorunsola in his first official pro fight. At one point in the second round against Williams, Gore was knocked (more like shoved) through the ropes and honestly looked overwhelmed by the barrage of haymakers thrown by Deron.
So, I’m sure Gore and his team made it a point for him to come out even more aggressively this time and, based on the outcome, their mission was accomplished. How far can Gore can take this new career path, seeing how he’s beginning this journey at nearly 40 years of age? This is the age where we usually see combat fighters start to wind down whether they decide it’s time or father time makes it for ‘em.
Because of Gore’s size (5-foot-9, 210 pounds), he’ll be fighting boxers that will tower over him in most cases. Williams had about six inches on Gore, and Olorunsola seemed to have a height advantage of at least a few inches. So, Gore will need to become familiar with getting inside on much taller fighters as Mike Tyson did early in his career. Now, I’m not comparing Gore to Iron Mike in the ring by any means. But he will face some of the same disadvantages as Tyson did in the ring due to his stature.
Like most boxers coming up the ranks, Gore will likely have a few more fighters that are greener than himself, tossed his way to build up his record. Playing 16 years in the NFL will definitely play in Gore’s favor. Not only from a physicality standpoint but also in name recognition. While he wasn’t the best running back in the league, Gore was considered a top-five back at one time. Boxing promoters will use any angle they can to sell fights, and if Gore keeps winning, we may see him work his way into a shot at one of the 700 boxing championships worldwide.
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