The official odds on his fight against Deron Williams haven’t affected Frank Gore one bit.

The former NFL running back has fed off being an underdog his whole life, thus he is completely comfortable with handicappers having established Williams as slightly more than a 2-1 favorite in the pro boxing debut for both retired athletes. The 5-feet-9 Gore stands six inches shorter than Williams, who was a three-time NBA All-Star as a point guard for the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets and Utah Jazz.

Williams’ height and reach advantages likely account for the odds favoring him entering a four-round heavyweight fight that’ll be part of the Jake Paul-Tommy Fury undercard December 18 at AMALIE Arena in Tampa, Florida. Gore, 38, and Williams, 37, were very respectful toward each other when they came face to face during a press conference Tuesday in Manhattan to promote their Showtime Pay-Per-View fight.

“I’ve been an underdog all my life, man,” Gore told Showtime’s Ariel Helwani, the moderator of the press conference. “I’ve been raised in a one-bedroom apartment with 12 people, and I overcame that. So, I’m OK with that. Been an underdog when I blew out my knees, saying I won’t make it to the NFL – I overcame that. They said I’ll be in the NFL three years. Sixteen years later, third on the NFL all-time rushing list. So, me hearing underdog, I’m cool wit it.

“You know, that’s what made me drive and given me that drive I got today in life. So, I’m cool wit it, man. I’m happy to be here. I respect Deron, man. I respect his game, playing in the NBA. And like I say, man, any guy who willing to get in the ring, man, gotta be tough. I don’t care what sport he played, you know, gotta be different. So, December 18th, I’m training my behind off and I’m gonna be ready.”

Gore retired from the NFL following his 16th season in 2020, when he rushed for 653 yards and two touchdowns for the Jets. The five-time Pro Bowl back finished his career with exactly 16,000 rushing yards, third on the NFL’s all-time list behind only Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton, and 80 rushing touchdowns.

Williams, meanwhile, retired following the 2016-17 season, his 12th in the NBA after Utah made him a lottery pick, fifth overall, in 2005.

Like Gore, Williams has used boxing and mixed martial arts training to help stay in shape for many years. Williams also owns a stake in Fortis MMA in Dallas, a well-known training facility near his hometown of The Colony, Texas.

Though he has dabbled in both boxing and MMA, Williams acknowledged that some of his friends from the NBA were surprised to learn that he’ll move forward with an official fight against the gritty Gore.

“You know, there’s all type of reception,” Williams said during the press conference. “You know, there’s all type of things. You know, but for the most part everybody’s behind me. You know, there’s been some people like, ‘You’re fighting Frank Gore? What are you doing? What are you thinking about?’ But, you know, that’s OK. You know, there’s a lot of unknowns in this fight and I think that’s what makes it exciting, you know?

“He’s been training for years, I’ve been training for years. You know, I’ve been doing a lot of MMA, but a lot of the work that I’ve done is boxing. And so, you know, it’s not new to me. You know, I’ve sparred with a lot of guys from our gym, a lot of killers from our gym. And, you know, I’m excited about this challenge.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.