After a bit of speculation, it’s finally official. Former Arizona Cardinals running back and seven-time Pro Bowler Adrian Peterson is set to fight ex-running back and three-time Pro Bowler Le’Veon Bell in a heavyweight boxing exhibition on July 30 at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, CA, according to ESPN’s Mike Coppinger.
Neither former NFL star has fought professionally before. At the same time, it’s simply an exhibition match and isn’t a sanctioned professional fight.
Peterson, 37, and Bell, 30, are currently free agents. Bell (-180) is the odds-on favorite to beat Peterson (+140), according to BetOnline. Bell’s experience with boxing stems from his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Bell used boxing as a way to perform cardio and his love for the sport grew even more in 2018 when he was away from football for a year.
“I try to find ways to be healthier,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “I want my body to be in great shape so as the season comes closer you’ll start seeing that form to take shape. [Boxing] is just to help with my cardio and my stamina. It’s a little different than football, and I try to stay off my joints in the offseason as much as possible, still get cardio. Instead of cutting and doing a lot of drills, I’ve been doing a lot of boxing training.”
Bell played for the Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021, rushing for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Peterson played three games for the Tennessee Titans and one for the Seattle Seahawks last season, combing for 38 rushes for 98 yards and two touchdowns.
The exhibition match will be on the undercard for Social Gloves 2, which features the main event between Youtubers Austin McBroom and AnEsonGib.
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Look Back at Peterson’s Tenure in Arizona
After achieving an NFL MVP and four first-team All-Pros during his 10-year tenure with the Minnesota Vikings, Peterson would go on to play for six different franchises.
The Cardinals would be Peterson’s second team. In 2017, Arizona needed a running back due to the season-ending injury of David Johnson. He was traded to Arizona from the New Orleans Saints in October of 2017 and burst onto the scene in his first game with the Cardinals in which he rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns in a win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Two weeks later, Peterson had a career-high 37 carries for 159 yards as the Cardinals won 20-10 against the San Francisco 49ers. Unfortunately, Peterson suffered a neck injury in Week 13 and missed the rest of the season. He finished with 529 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, 11 receptions and 70 receiving yards.
On March 13, 2018, the Cardinals released Peterson. He has since played for four teams and is currently fifth-all-time in career rushing yards in the NFL (14,918), per Pro Football Reference.
Rest of Fight Information
Ex-NBA player Nick Young is also on the undercard. He’ll fight rapper Blueface.
Last month, retired running back Frank Gore entered the boxing realm and knocked Yaya Olorunsola in Round 4. Gore played in the NFL for 16 seasons.
It’ll be interesting to see what comes out of the bout between Peterson and Bell.