By James Slater: Former undisputed cruiserweight ruler O’Neil Bell is set to make a return to the sport over three years after his last fight. The Jamaican-born 37-year-old will face fellow Jamaican Richard Hall, at cruiserweight, on June 4th at The Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida. The bout, which will mark Hall’s return after just over a year out, is scheduled for ten-rounds.
Bell, 26-3-1(24) was last seen being TKO’d in the 8th-round by Tomasz Adamek. That April 2008 IBF elimination but was followed by Bell’s revelation that he was feeling dizzy during the action. After a lengthy break, “Give ’Em Hell” announced how he would be coming back as a heavyweight. Nothing happened, however – until now. Staying at cruiserweight, Bell evidently feels he has enough left to be able to give it one more shot.
In his heyday, the thrill-a-minute puncher gave us great action fights against the likes of Jean Marc Mormeck (who he met twice, winning one losing the other), Sebastiaan Rothman and Kelvin Davis. It’s hard to know whether or not Bell can achieve anything like his old glory, but his return is likely to attract some attention.
Hall, older by two years at age 39, is best known for his light-heavyweight title fight losses to Roy Jones Junior and, in two encounters, Dariusz Michalczewski. Last appearing in May of last year (a ten-round shut-out loss to prospect Yordanis Despaigne), the southpaw who has also been in with the likes of Glen Johnson and Byron Mitchell is 29-8(27) overall. The fight with Bell is very much a must-win encounter for both veterans.
If Bell has been in the gym, keeping himself in shape, he should in my opinion be able to beat Hall. The older man has been stopped a number of times as light-heavyweight (5 times in all), and natural cruiserweight Bell always could crack hard. In what will be Hall’s cruiserweight debut, his chin is likely to be tested by the man also known as “Supernova.”
These two know each other well being gym-mates, and both guys will certainly be carrying some ring-rust into the fight. Again, it’s tough to know what either man has left, Bell especially. But if the former 200-pound king is not a shot fighter, he should be able to either pound out a points win or a maybe a late stoppage. Both men are reportedly up for an exciting, slugfest-type war – maybe the fans will be treated to a good fight as a result.
Also on the June 4th card will be long-time heavyweight contender Cedric Boswell. “The Boz” will take on journeyman Kertson Manswell over a scheduled ten. 41-year-old Boswell, 34-1(26), who hasn’t lost since his sole defeat way back in 2003, should get himself a stoppage win here. Manswell is both younger and a game fighter, but his chin has let him down before. Manswell did at least manage to last the distance in the three-round “Prizefighter” bout he had with red-hot Cuban Mike Perez back in May. Not too bad a showing considering how Perez took out his other two rivals inside of a minute each.