Le’Veon Bell, a former three-time All-Pro NFL running back, recently issued a challenge of a different kind to a long-time gridiron rival.
Bell, who’s taken up boxing in his post-NFL days, very heavily implied in a recent edition of the Misfits Boxing podcast that he’d like to see former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict in the squared circle.
Le’Veon Bell vs. Vontaze Burfict Boxing Match?
As per Sports Illustrated, Bell had this to say about the potential match: “It’s someone from football. They had purposely injured me. I don’t think I want to say the name, but people who watched my career when I hurt my knee, people know. Yeah, people know. I would love to put my hands on him in the ring.”
Interestingly, Burfict took the path less traveled. He responded on Instagram and suggested he and Bell should compete in a golf match instead. He said they could squash the beef and arrange for the proceeds to benefit charities.
Bell and Burfict had similar career arcs. Both were fantastically productive during their first four or five years. Bell went over 1,800 scrimmage yards three times in four seasons. Burfict topped the 100-tackle threshold three times in five years.
And both flamed out before turning 30. Bell held out a full season in hopes of a better payday. When he returned, his burst was gone. He’d play for four teams in the next three years, accruing a mere 615 yards per season.
Burfict incurred constant league discipline as a result of his illegal and often dirty play. Per The Guardian, he missed 22 games to suspension in his career. Finally, a brutal helmet-to-helmet shot on then-Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle saw Burfict suspended for the duration of the 2019 campaign.
He’s been out of the league ever since.
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Though it sounds unlikely to happen, Bell and Burfict would certainly be an intriguing, if not overly technical, bout. At 6’1, 255 pounds during his playing days, Burfict has a 30-pound edge on the one-time tailback.
Bell has the speed advantage with a 40-yard dash time of 4.60 compared to Burfict’s 5.09. Maybe the two can come to some kind of compromise and box for charity.
Le’Veon Bell’s Boxing Career
Bell currently holds a record of 1-1 in professional bouts. He lost to Uriah Hall, a tenured MMA fighter (with victories over Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman) making his own boxing debut. He’d then bounce back to defeat a British YouTuber by the name of JMX, who boasted a 3-0 record between two amateur bouts and one professional one heading into his fight with Bell.
Bell also earned an emphatic victory in an exhibition with Adrian Peterson. Per ESPN’s Myron Medcalf, Bell got the better of Peterson in the fifth round by TKO, “rocking him with a hard right hand.”
“I appreciate everybody’s love and support, for real,” Bell said after the fight. “That’s really what kept me going. Honestly, all the hate … that motivates me.”
It remains to be seen who Bell will draw next, but it seems that it’s unlikely to be Burfict.