Former Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, one of the greatest and most prolific RBs in NFL history, is trying his hand at a different sport this summer.
On July 30th, Peterson and former Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell will face off in a heavyweight exhibition boxing match at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, according to ESPN's Mike Coppinger. Both men have officially signed their contracts for the fight, which will not count as a pro boxing debut because it's an exhibition.
The deal continues a trend of big-time athletes and social media stars crossing over into boxing. Frank Gore, another All-Pro running back, met NBA All-Star Deron Williams in an exhibition on the December undercard of Jake Paul-Tyron Woodley 2. Gore then made his pro debut in May with a fourth-round knockout.
Peterson and Bell will meet on the undercard of Social Gloves 2, an event promoted by YouTube star Austin McBroom. McBroom takes on fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib in the main event. Rapper Blueface fights former NBA player Nick Young on the undercard.
This ought to be interesting, if nothing else. Both former first-team All-Pro RBs are roughly 6'1", 225 pounds, though Peterson has slightly longer arms. He's also seven years older than Bell. I have no idea how much boxing experience each has, but I think it's safe to assume the quality of this match won't be particularly high.
Peterson, who spent ten years with the Vikings, ranks 5th in NFL history with 14,918 rushing yards. He had brief stints with the Titans and Seahawks last year and isn't retired, but the 37-year-old's NFL career might be over at this point. He apparently plans on signing a one-day contract with the Vikings before eventually retiring, whether that's this year or not.
Bell, 30, was incredibly productive for the Steelers from 2013-17, but fell off hard after sitting out the 2018 season due to a contract dispute. He was briefly with the Ravens and Buccaneers last season.
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