The world of boxing gets an unusual exhibition bout on Saturday evening in Los Angeles. Former NFL running backs Adrian Peterson and Le’Veon Bell are facing off in the penultimate bout of a Social Gloves card airing on FITE.tv.
It’s unclear how much money either person is receiving for this bout, and this might be one time where this is not really about the money. It’s possible both players are dealing with financial issues and need to pad their respective bank accounts, but it’s also possible this is just two competitive individuals looking for a new challenge with their football careers done or just about done.
Bell has announced he does not plan to play football in 2022 and will instead focus entirely on boxing. He played last season, splitting eight games between the Ravens and Buccaneers. Peterson spent time with the Titans and Seahawks last season and recently told TMZ he’d like to play this year for one of the Bills, Rams, or 49ers.
Boxing is a sport that NFL running backs have been mixing into their training for some time. Frank Gore is the most notable player to take the next step, losing a 2021 exhibition to Deron Williams and winning his 2022 pro debut against Olaseyinde Olorunsola.
There’s a certain competitive mentality that professional athletes don’t just lose when they are headed out of their particular game. Some can ride off into the sunset with ease, but many need to find a way to scratch their competitive itch. In this case, it would appear Bell and Peterson think boxing can be the way to do that. We’ll see if that sticks after they start to take some punches to the head and move beyond just training.