Le'Veon Bell, New York Jets, Boxing, Match, Adrian Peterson
Le'Veon Bell, New York Jets, Getty Images

The former New York Jet will face a new kind of defense in a new environment

In the 2010s, a matchup between Le’Veon Bell and Adrian Peterson would’ve been a matchup so electrifying that fans might’ve been willing to pay a little extra for it.

They’ll finally get that opportunity.

The former All-Pro running backs will face off in an exhibition heavyweight boxing match on July 30 at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, part of an undercard leading up to a pay-per-view bout between YouTube personalities Austin McBroom and AnEsonGib.

According to BoxingScene.com, Bell and Peterson will face off in five two-minute rounds with 12-ounce gloves. Former Los Angeles Laker Nick Young is also set to partake, facing rapper Blueface in another undercard.

Bell, infamous amongst New York Jets fans for his uneventful 17-game tenure with the team after signing a four-year, $52.5 million deal in March 2019, is no stranger to boxing. Prior to spending the latter stages of the 2021 NFL season between Baltimore and Tampa Bay, Bell was seen working out with accomplished boxing trainer Barry Hunter (winner of the WBO’s Trainer of the Year award in 2007).

The 30-year-old running back, a five-time All-Pro with Pittsburgh, perhaps foreshadowed his ringed fate in the Steelers’ October 2017 win over Kansas City, where he was charged with an unsportsmanlike conduct flag for a boxing display against Arrowhead Stadium’s goalpost.

Bell’s NFL career has yet to return to the rushing heights he obtained before sitting out the entire 2018 season due to a contract dispute with the Steelers. He ran for 866 yards over 17 games with the Jets before he was unceremoniously released in the early stages of the 2020 season before concluding that year with the Super Bowl-bound Chiefs.

Peterson, 37, will enter the bout as the fifth-leading rusher in NFL history (14,918 yards) best known for his endeavors with the Minnesota Vikings (2007-16). He has led the league in rushing three times and took home the league MVP award in 2012. His career has taken on a nomadic approach since his departure from Minnesota, his most recent endeavors being four games between Tennessee and Seattle last season.

Bell has opened as an early favorite in the exhibition bout, currently bestowed odds of -180 at BetOnline.com. He’s not the first former Jets running back to enter the ring, as he’s set to follow the footsteps of one of his successors.

Frank Gore, one of the four rushers ahead of Peterson who spent the final year of his NFL career in New York, faced off against Deron Williams as part of the undercard leading up to the Jake Paul vs. Tyron Woodley event in Tampa last December. Though Gore lost to the former New Jersey Nets star via split decision, he won his professional debut by knockout last month.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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Geoff Magliocchetti is a veteran football writer with years of credentialed experience with the Jets and Giants. Email: geoffmags90@gmail.com


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