For a while, it seemed like whoever trained Leveon Bell for his boxing exhibition match played a prank on him. Then Adrian Peterson went straight into a steep right.
The former Pittsburgh Steelers running back took the win at the little-attended Social Gloves exhibition against his fellow NFL running back on Saturday despite a disgraceful display of form in the first four rounds. Each boxer landed only a few punches—and a few, if any, significant punches—as the announcers grimly tried to justify what the audience had paid for.
In particular, Bell seemed to be fighting somewhere at the level of Nate Robinson, almost bowing to the waist every time he tried to land a punch, and was knocked down with a single jab in the second round.
But of course, boxing matches can be decided with one punch, whether it’s Deontay Wilder or a former professional bowler trying to switch sports. In the fifth round, Bell caught Peterson with one of the hardest punches of the night and left the former MVP too dazed to continue.
It wasn’t the night’s wildest finale, though, as former NBA quarterback Nick “Swaggy P” Young saw his boxing debut end up flying through the ropes after making contact with TikTok influencer Minikon replacing rapper BlueFace at the last minute.
The match was stopped when Young lay on the mat in apparent pain.
Luckily for Peterson and Young, there weren’t many people around to witness his downfall. According to the Dexerto reportthe Social Gloves event only sold about 200 tickets to the 22,000-seat Banc of California stadium in Los Angeles, and the organizers eventually resorted to giving away 1,000 tickets.
Even with such an attempt to increase attendance, there were enough empty seats to Blush Oakland Athletics. The void was visible most of the time during the stream, but the bleakness caught the eye thanks to videos on social media.
No matter how he got there, Bell can at least call himself a winner. Which is good, because the former All-Pro clearly wants to make a career out of it.
Bell said before the fight that he was staying away from football to focus on boxing and repeated this after Saturday’s win. When asked if he wanted to go pro or stay in the celebrity circle, he replied, “Hell yes.”
“I want to see how far I can go. I want to test my limits,” Bell said after the match. “I’m going to continue, we’ll see what happens after that. I’m going to enjoy tonight, don’t get me wrong. I’ve worked so hard for so long. after.”