Remember O’Neil Bell – A Great Warrior

How many great fighters have we seen fall to a bullet? Too many, no doubt. Vernon Forrest, Hector Camacho….going back farther, Stanley Ketchel, and most recently, Danny Kelly Jr. It’s a tragic list. You might not remember O’Neil Bell, the former cruiserweight king – but you should.

Bell, who was shot down at the age of just 40, this in November of 2015, would have been, indeed should have been, celebrating his 47th birthday today. Bell had a relatively short career but he sure made his mark due to the light-up-the-division fights he gave us all.

Going pro in February of 1998, Bell would go on to go to war with, amongst others, “King” Arthur Williams, Kelvin “Concrete” Davis, Ezra Sellers (another fine fighting man who was taken too soon), Dale Brown, and Jean-Marc Mormeck. Bell had a most distinctive nickname – “Give ‘Em Hell” – and he sure did give almost every fellow fighting man he met just that.

The first fight/war/candidate for best cruiserweight fight ever Bell had with Mormeck has to be seen to be believed (and it wasn’t even the headlining fight that night in January of 2006). And then Bell went through hell with the battling Frenchman a second time; this time losing the unified belts he had captured by stopping Mormeck 14 long months before.

Bell’s reign was short, yet violent. The same can sadly be said of Bell’s life. He is a fighter well worth remembering, however. 32 pro fights, 27 of them wins. Bell retired on a win in December of 2011. He enjoyed a little over four years of retirement. Bell would be happy to be remembered today. That’s the least we can do for this vastly underrated and underappreciated champion.

“Balls to the wall, that’s how I fight,” Bell said when speaking with this website in 2008. “That’s all I can tell you. That’s how I fight. I’m an old-school fighter. I can punch, too.”

He sure could, and he did. Here’s wishing O’Neil a happy birthday. Wherever he is today.