Bell, who starred for the Pittsburgh Steelers, bounced around with four teams, then retired after last year, scored a technical knockout over Peterson, the future Hall of Famer, in the fifth round. Bell dropped the one-time Minnesota Vikings star and future Hall of Famer with a right hand at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, according to The Sporting News.
“I appreciate everybody’s love and support, for real,” Bell, 30, said after the fight. “That’s really what kept me going. Honestly, all the hate … that motivates me.”
Leveon Bell just knocked out Adrian Peterson to officially kick off the NFL season pic.twitter.com/f4GznfKskJ
— Dan Canobbio (@DanCanobbio) September 11, 2022
Bell, who famously sat out the 2018 season in a bid to get a new contract or force the Steelers to trade him, then never regained his All-Pro form, said he intends to pursue professional boxing.
The exhibition fight was an undercard match on a night promoted as “Social Gloves: No More Talk.” It began slowly with four rounds of circling and jabbing, although Bell hit the canvas in what was ruled a slip in the second round. In the fifth round, Bell caught Peterson with a straight right to the chin, dropping him. A wobbly Peterson rose to his feet, but the referee stopped the fight.
Unlike Bell, who played for the New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Kansas City Chiefs after leaving Pittsburgh, Peterson, 37, has not announced retirement plans. The NFL’s fifth all-time leading rusher, the former Oklahoma star has 14,918 rushing yards and played four games last season between the Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks. He has played 15 seasons in the NFL.
Peterson said he agreed to the bout to have fun and stay in shape for a potential return to the NFL.
The top of the card featured YouTube star Austin McBroom, a former college basketball player with 6.4 million Instagram followers, but he was knocked down five times and defeated by AnEsonGib. Also on the card, former NBA star Nick Young, who calls himself “Swaggy P,” faced social media influencer Malcolm Minikon.
Young, a 6-foot, 7-inch former Los Angeles Lakers forward and ex of Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, was sent flying through the ropes by an illegal headbutt from Minikon that stopped the fight.