On Jan. 14, former undisputed cruiserweight champion O'neil Bell will be stepping in the ring against Wille Palms. Palms with a record of 10 wins (5KO) six loss is clearly a start up fight into the division. But, many will question why would a former undisputed champion need a start up fight and not a bigger name opponent.
Unfortunately, for Bell it's because he was defeated in his last two bouts. Plus, his camp wants to make sure that all of the cobwebs and excuses are out of his head. Although Bell is a talented boxer and was the only other cruiserweight to become the undisputed champion of the world, other than the one and only Evander Holyfield. It has been said Bell is a hard fighter to keep on the straight an arrow.
Bell started his career like every boxer would love, he got a first round knock out over William Holyfield, nephew to Evander Holyfied a fighter he always looked up to. The thrill was short lived for the moment when he was KO in his second fight by one time prospect Mohamed Benguesmia.
After being stopped in his second professional fight Bell went on a winning streak defeating 26 opponents in a row collecting championships along the way. Bell started out winning small titles such as NABF/USBA cruiserweight titles. He then went on to win the IBF cruiserweight title in a controversial UD over Canadian fighter Dale Brown.
After one successful title defense Bell went on to fight WBC/WBA cruiserweight champion Jean Marc Mormeck for a unification bout. Mormeck showed a strong seven rounds before he began to get over worked and pressured by Bell leading to a KO in the 10th round. Mormeck suffered his first knockout of his career, and O'niel Bell added his name to boxing history.
But the glory didn't last long four months later Bell was stripped of the IBF title for withdrawing from a mandatory title defense against number one contender Steve Cunningham. Almost a year later he was accused of throwing an axe at his training partner when he was in Big Bear training for the Mormeck rematch in which he lost.
After losing in Feburary to Mormeck, Bell was expected to fight on ESPN fight night six months later. His match was canceled because ESPN advisers, and Bell's camp couldn't find him anywhere three weeks before the fight.
Bell did return to the ring in April 08, to face Poland native Tomasz Adamek. Adamek dropped Bell in round one, and continued to dominate the entire fight. Bell called it quits at the end of the seventh round refusing to come back out giving Adameck an eight round TKO.
Promoters and trainer of Bell say moving up to the heavyweight division is going to bring out the champion mentality that Bell once had. They're confident that the stress of making weight was the only mental and physical problem Bell had.
After the TKO lost to Adameck. Bell said,
"I felt sick and tired I can't fight at cruiserweight anymore, my body isn't built for it."
With a 80 percent knockout rate 26 wins (24KO) Bell showed power at cruiserweight and guarantees to bring a lot more power with him to his new division.
Personally, I wish Bell strength and focus because it's always great to see a fighter achieve all he is capable of.