By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn was crowing like a rooster last Saturday night after watching his fighter Conor Benn obliterate the washed-up 37-year-old part-time boxer Chris Algieri in four rounds at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England.
After the fight, Hearn spoke of Benn (20-0, 13 KOs) becoming a star overnight due to his win over the over-the-hill second-tier fighter Algieri, saying that he’ll be ready to fight for a world title after two more fights, one of which he’s hoping will be against Adrien Broner.
Amir Khan is another fighter that Hearn wants to match Benn against before challenging WBA welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas. However, Khan has zero interest in fighting Benn and taking one for the team, and Hearn is more than bitter about his refusal to take the fight.
With a net worth estimated at $40 million, why would Khan want to take on the young lion Benn that would surely beat him? It doesn’t make sense for Khan to fall on his sword so that he can temporarily help the career of Conor Benn?
Whatever popularity Benn would gain from a win over Khan will be fleeting if Hearn is serious about putting the 25-year-old Conor in with one of the champions at 147.
Benn hasn’t shown the kind of talent that suggests that he’ll defeat the champions Errol Spence Jr, Terence Crawford, or Yordenis Ugas. For that matter, Benn doesn’t look nearly good enough to beat the next-level fighters, Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis, Vergil Ortiz Jr., or David Avanesyan.
Hearn says Conor Benn KOs Khan with one shot
“I never spoke to Kell Brook face-to-face about that fight [against Conor Benn]. I spoke to Amir, and I’m talking about that Brook-Khan and that whole thing,” said Eddie Hearn to Behind The Gloves.
“And I just said to Amir, ‘I’m not interested in Brook-Khan in the end; I want to make Benn-Khan,’” said Hearn.
“He [Khan] doesn’t want to fight a young, hungry, spiteful kid, alright? That’s Conor, Vergil Ortiz, Boots Ennis because he doesn’t want to get beat by kids like that.
“He doesn’t mind going in and fighting Kell and having a move around,” Hearn continues with his rant about Khan not agreeing to fight with Benn.
“There’s a difference between guys that are there for a payday and guys that are there to take your head off, and Conor is there to take your head off. If he hit Amir Khan with a shot like that [the one that Benn knocked out 37-year-old Algieri with], the exact same thing would happen.
“In fact, one clean shot [from Benn] and it’s over,” said Hearn in predicting that Conor would KO Khan with one headshot]. Amir is a brilliant fighter, but I don’t think Amir wants to end his legacy by getting knocked out by Conor Benn. Do you know what I mean?
“I don’t think Amir will fight on after that [the Brook fight]. Maybe if someone looks good, he might, but we’re [Team Benn] are happy to look at the winner [of Khan vs. Brook].
“They’re also fighting in February, so those guys are not going to fight again until September or October. We’ve got to plan our March or April fight.
“He’s [Brook] historically been more robust, but he wasn’t more robust against Terence Crawford, so you don’t know.
“It’s different animals. Kell and Amir have been brilliant fighters, but there’s something about the younger generation of fighters. They’re not nice individuals to share a ring with.
Benn’s knockout of Algieri seen by millions
“It was the all-around nature of the performance, the defense, the movement, and people were clapping when he was making Algieri miss,” said Hearn about Benn’s performance last Saturday night. “A lot of people thought that it was Algieri that would make Conor miss.
“We know that he’s [Benn] spiteful, and we know that he’s sharp, but it’s the way he put his performance together. The composure and the showroom knockout, which is everything.
“When you look on social media, he’s trending #1 across all platforms, and millions of people have already watched the clip around the world,” said Hearn about Conor Benn’s one-punch knockout clip of Chris Algieri in the fourth.
“By Monday, even more people will have watched the clip. That’s how you become a star. You don’t become a star by fiddling around for 12 rounds and sort of boring people. You knock people out, and you brutalize them.
“People want violence, that’s the reality, and that was a violent knockout, a REALLY violent knockout,” said Hearn in gloating about Benn’s win over the shot to pieces 37-year-old part-time fighter Algieri.
Certainly, boxing fans have seen the clip of Benn’s knockout win over the washed-up Algieri, but the knowledgable people realize that Conor didn’t beat a top-tier fighter.
Algieri was never a welterweight, and he was only briefly a champion at 140 in 2014 before being stripped of his title after he moved up to 147 to take on Manny Pacquiao in a fight that was easily beaten.
Even in his prime, Algieri never fought the talented 140-pounders like Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson. Back then, those were two of the best at light welterweight. When Algieri did step up, he was beaten easily by Khan, Pacquiao, and Errol Spence Jr.
Eddie wants Benn to take two more fights before a title shot
“We’re going about it in the right way, but ultimately [Benn’s trainer] Tony [Sims] will pick the fights,” said Hearn in reacting to being told that Conor wants to challenge for a world title next against WBA welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas.
“I can give my opinion, but Algieri was the perfect fight. I’m just saying that there are two levels between Algieri and the champions. Let’s look at the champions.
“Crawford, Spence, Ugas, and even beneath them, there’s Vergil Ortiz, Boots Ennis. It’s not easy, is it? So, I just feel that he’s [Conor Benn] such a big star, we should do it right, and it’s only another six months, two fights. But he does want the smoke, and he wants it now,” said Hearn about Benn.
Hearn could undoubtedly speed up the development for Benn if he moved away from putting him with washed-up fighters like Khan, Brook, and Adrien Broner and matched him against David Avanesyan, Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis, or Vergil Ortiz Jr. for his next two fights before he fights for a world title.
Let’s be honest about this. If Benn isn’t good enough to beat Ennis, Ortiz, or Avanesyan, then how does he have any hopes of defeating IBF/WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr., WBO champ Terence Crawford or WBA champ Yordenis Ugas?
Interestingly, Benn hasn’t mentioned wanting to challenge Crawford or Spence for their titles. The guy that Benn wants is the most vulnerable of the belt-holders, 35-year-old Ugas.
Unfortunately, when Benn is done with the two interim fights that Hearn wants him to take, Ugas will likely no longer be the WBA champion because Spence is interested in fighting him.
Once Spence has his hands on Ugas’ title, he’s not going to lose it to Benn. That would be a mismatch. Spence is so advanced compared to Conor Benn that it’s not even worthy of talking about the two sharing the same ring.
Hearn should keep Benn fighting old guys and let him make money selling out arenas with the promise of a title fight just around the corner.
I mean, Hearn doesn’t ever have to put Benn in with any of the world champions for him to make big cash. Look at Benn now. His net worth is reportedly estimated between $5 million to $7 million, and he hasn’t even fought anyone.
There’s no sense of Hearn ruining the money-making machine that he has in Conor Benn by throwing him in with one of the champions and watching him get exposed.