Back on May 19, 2005, I spoke with O'Neil Bell just hours before his fight with Dale Brown for the vacant IBF cruiserweight title. Then, Bell felt as though he was the uncrowned champion of the division, he felt deep down inside that he was stronger and faster than all of the cruiserweights. He always felt that he could be the face of the cruiserweight division, and he knew he had what it took to become world champion.My conversation with O'Neil was interesting as well as prophetic. He proclaimed to be the "Uncrowned Champion" the spark that the lack luster division needed. On Jan 7, 2005 just eight months later, Bell received his crown and unified the titles. The first of SHOWTIME championship boxing trilogy, O'Neil Bell face "The MarksMan" Jean-Marc Mormeck in a co-main event that caused the Theater to erupt with excitement.
The opening round saw Bell in a rough situation, with Mormeck unleashing devastating, neck snapping jabs and thunderous body shot that should of dropped Bell on several occasions. He recovered and landed a few monstrous shots of his own. Bell stated that after the fourth round he saw that Mormeck was winded and that he had spent all his energy landing those career ending blows. Bell with his ring experience knew that Mormeck could not continue to throw and land at the speed and power, so he weather the storm, dwelt with the punches and when he saw the opportunity he capitalized.
The moment of truth came for O"Neil Bell when, in the tenth round, he landed a couple of hard right hands, a left uppercut and then another right. The mouth piece of Mormeck went flying as he bent over to the canvas, he would later roll over on his back. The eight count was halted at the count of five, the fight waived off and the roof was lifted off the Theater! O'Neil Bell had finally materialized what he had felt in his heart and soul all the while. On that night he received his crown and solidified his place in boxing history as the second man besides Evander Holyfield to unify the cruiserweight division. But most importantly Bell added spark and excitement back to the once forgotten weight class.