Former three-time NFL All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell recently issued a challenge of a different kind to a longtime rival.
Bell, who took up boxing in his latter NFL days, heavily hinted on a recent edition of the Misfits Boxing podcast that he would like to see former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict in the ring.
Boxing match between Le’Veon Bell and Vontaze Burfict?
According to Sports Illustrated, Bell had this to say about the potential matchup: “It’s someone from football. I was hurt intentionally. I don’t think I want to name names, but the people who injured my knee But saw my run, people know. Yeah, people know. I’d love to get my hands on him in the ring.”
Curiously, Burfict took the road less traveled. He responded on Instagram and suggested that he and Bell compete in a round of golf. He said they could crush the meat and arrange for the proceeds to benefit charity.
The career arcs of Bell and Burfict were similar. They were both fantastically productive during their first four or five years. Bell surpassed 1,800 scrimmage yards three times in four seasons. Burfict passed the 100-death threshold three times in five years.
And they both stopped before they turned 30. Bell held out a full season in hopes of a better payoff. When he returned, it had exploded. He played for four teams over the next three years, gaining only 615 yards per season.
Burfict faced frequent discipline from the league due to his illegal and frequent foul play. According to The Guardian, he missed 22 games due to the suspension in his career. Finally, a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit on then-Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle led to Burfict’s suspension during the 2019 season.
He has been out of the league since then.
While it doesn’t seem likely to happen, Bell and Burfict will certainly make for an intriguing, if not highly technical fight. At 6’1, 255 pounds during his playing days, Burfict has a 30-pound advantage over one-time running backs.
Bell has the speed advantage with a 40-yard dash time of 4.60 compared to Burfict’s 5.09. Maybe the two of you can make some kind of compromise and make a charity box.
Le’Veon Bell’s Boxing Career
Bell currently holds a 1–1 record in professional bouts. He lost to Uriah Hall, a budding MMA fighter (with wins over Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman) making his boxing debut. He then rallied to defeat a British YouTuber named JMX, who was 3–0 between two amateur fights and one professional prior to his fight with Bell.
Bell also scored a landslide victory in an exhibition with Adrian Peterson. According to ESPN’s Myron Medcalf, Bell knocked out Peterson via TKO in the fifth round, “rocking him with a hard right hand.”
“I really appreciate everyone’s love and support,” Bell said after the fight. “That’s really what kept me going. To be honest, all the hate… that drives me.
It remains to be seen who Bell will draw next, but it seems unlikely to be Burfict.