GLENDALE, Arizona – Le’Veon Bell’s second attempt at boxing wasn’t nearly as successful as the former Pittsburgh Steelers star’s first foray into the sport seven weeks earlier.
Retired UFC fighter Uriah Hall applied pressure against a reluctant Bell throughout their four-round cruiserweight fight Saturday night at Desert Diamond Arena. Hall and Bell both made their professional boxing debuts on the Jake Paul-Anderson Silva undercard, but Hall’s experience edge in combat sports was evident early in their bout.
The 38-year-old Hall won by the same score, 40-36, on the cards of judges Eric Curcio, Dennis O’Connell and Chris Wilson. New York’s Hall expressed respect for Bell’s strength and willingness to try boxing, but he reiterated his desire to “expose” Paul if Paul tops Silva in the main event of Showtime’s five-fight pay-per-view show.
The 30-year-old Bell knocked out Adrian Peterson, the NFL’s fifth all-time leading rusher, with a right hand in the fifth round of their exhibition September 10 at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. Unlike Hall, Peterson had no experience in combat sports and appeared apprehensive about exchanging with Bell in the four-plus rounds prior to the stoppage.
On Saturday night, two right uppercuts by Hall landed with just under 1:20 to go in the fourth round. Bell initiated clinches thereafter, but he tried to fight back toward the end of that final round.
Bell connected with a right hand that made Hall back up with just under 40 seconds on the clock in the third round. Before that point, the third round unfolded much like the first two rounds – with Hall pressuring a retreating Bell, who wouldn’t commit to his punches.
Hall stalked Bell and threw juabs during the second round, when Bell again moved backward and drew boos from the crowd. Back-to-back right hands by Hall backed Bell into the ropes with approximately 35 seconds to go in the second round.
Hall pressured Bell as soon as their fight started. Bell tried to measure his taller opponent and stayed on his back foot throughout the opening three minutes of their fight.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.