Adrian Peterson is looking to make a run in a completely different contact sport.

The future NFL Hall of Famer will be making his boxing debut in an exhibition match against fellow running back Le’Veon Bell on July 30 at the Arena in Los Angeles as a featured attraction for the Social Gloves pay-per-view show.

Peterson is one of the most violent and vicious ball carriers of all time, and the best back of his generation will look to translate the same skills and success into the squared circle. 

Peterson has been training in Houston under the watchful eye of head coach Marshall Kauffman as he prepares for his five-round showcase. 

"I'm excited. The opportunity presented itself. I looked at it as a challenge. That's one thing that I have always gotten excited about – new challenges. I've been in the lab, just working, and grinding. Just waiting for this opportunity to come,” Peterson said during a recent news conference. 

With 14,918 rushing yards under his belt, the 2012 NFL MVP Peterson sits fifth all-time on the league’s rushing list. 

The 36-year-old has bounced around the league ever since leaving Minnesota in 2016. Peterson enjoyed the best days of his career as a Viking. He’s since suited up for the New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals, Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, Tennessee Titans, and Seattle Seahawks. 

"[Training for boxing] is kind of similar to [training for football] but it's different as well. The mental aspect, being physically ready,” said Peterson. “It's something that I’ve enjoyed. Pushing my body and testing my body. Getting in the ring gets me a totally different perspective on these guys that do this for a living. It's been a challenge for me, but I've been all in.”

“All Day” is notorious for having one of the firmest handshakes in NFL circles. He’ll now ball up his hand to make a fist with the intent of ringing the bell of the former Pittsburgh Steelers star. 

"Yeah, of course, I feel the same way [that there is mutual respect]. I respect what he's been able to accomplish on the field as well,” said Peterson. 

"I'm going in there to win this fight. That's my mentality. I know Le'Veon is strong as well, but I'll give myself the edge when it comes to being explosive and having the power. My No. 1 attribute is my mentality, my toughness, my grit. That has got me through so much, even outside of football.”

The free agent Peterson – a three-time league-leading rusher –  is already looking forward to paving a new sports path for himself now that his NFL days are winding down. 

"This is definitely something I can see myself doing moving forward as well, just depending on how things kind of play out for me,” he said. “Since I've started, this is something that I am going to continue to do, stay in the ring, practice, and get my skills right. It's a different ballgame when you step into that square. Fortunately for me, I have a lot of guys that are around me that are experienced.

"I might see this continue to do something going forward. So, even after this fight, I will still be on my same routine, waiting for that next opportunity to present itself."

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at] or on