Sports | June 28, 2022 11:32 am

Former NFL Stars Le’Veon Bell and Adrian Peterson Set for Boxing Match

The heavyweight exhibition bout between the two running backs will take place on July 30 at the Arena in Los Angeles

Le'Veon Bell walks off the field after a game at Raymond James Stadium
Le'Veon Bell may be ditching his football helmet for boxing gloves.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty

A pair of former star running backs who both spent time at the top of fantasy football draft boards during their NFL careers are set to face off in a heavyweight boxing match now that their playing days seem to be close to over.

Adrian Peterson, who split time between the Titans and Seahawks last season, and Le’Veon Bell, who was with the Ravens before latching on with the Bucs, will face off in the ring at an event called Social Gloves 2. The main event will feature YouTube star Austin McBroom taking on fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib, and rapper Blueface will fight former NBA player Nick Young in an additional undercard match.

Peterson-Bell, which is set for July 30 at Arena in Los Angeles, will be classified as an exhibition match so the fight won’t officially count as a pro boxing debut for either former NFLer, according to ESPN.

It is somewhat fitting that the former All-Pro running backs will be facing each other as both of their NFL careers were marked by dizzying highs and spectacular lows. For Peterson, the high water mark was winning MVP following the 2012 season. (The 37-year-old was the last non-quarterback to win the award.) However, allegations of child abuse led to him missing nearly an entire season on the field and marred what would otherwise be a stellar career.

Bell, who rushed for 5,336 yards and scored 42 touchdowns in five seasons with the Steelers, was set to become one of the league’s highest-paid backs before he opted to sit out the entire 2018 season in the hopes of landing an even bigger payday. The former Steeler ended up getting a fairly good contract from the Jets, but never regained his game-breaking form and was released after rushing for just 863 yards and three touchdowns in 17 games with New York. Just 30 years old, Bell has bounced around since his time in New York and may have played his final snap of professional football.

Likely due to the age discrepancy between Peterson and Bell, oddsmakers have installed the latter as the favorite at -175 and have the former listed at +135. While the winner will surely get some sort of purse — probably in the form of cryptocurrency given the venue — another crack at making an NFL roster would be a better prize. Still, maybe a win in the ring will be enough to get an NFL team to give Peterson or Bell one more look on the field.

“Either Peterson or Bell could head to NFL training camp after the fight,” according to ProFootballTalk. “It’s currently unclear whether anyone will be interested. Neither received a sniff during the offseason program, which featured 90 players per team.”