By Scott Gilfoid: Eddie Hearn states that he’s finalizing the opponent for the next fight for welterweight contender/prospect Conor Benn in April.
It’s unclear why Hearn isn’t showing interest in matching Benn against proper contenders that can prepare him in a genuine way to challenge for a world title. Instead of Hearn raiding the ranks of the old veteran’s, he should be matching him against these fighters:
- Danny Garcia
- Keith Thurman
- David Avanesyan
- Regis Prograis
- Subrial Matias
- Jose Ramirez
- Jose Zepeda
- Shakhram Giyasov
The opponents that Hearn wants for the highly popular Conor are older former world champions and well past their primes, unfortunately.
Benn’s recent victories over clearly shot to pieces old veterans were troubling to watch. The type of lowly opposition that Hearn is feeding Benn isn’t going to prepare him to beat the 147-pound champions Errol Spence Jr, Terence Crawford, or Yordenis Ugas.
Moreover, the dreadfully poor fighters that Hearn is feeding Benn won’t even prepare him to beat David Avanesyan, Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis, or Vergil Ortiz Jr.
Is Benn being positioned for cash grabs?
They were essentially gimme fights against older fighters, who have lost the edge they once had due to their advanced age, ring wear, and inactivity.
In the view of many boxing fans, Hearn’s methods for building up Conor Benn to prepare him for a world title shot are unsound. It appears that Benn ISN’T being prepared to win a world title.
What it looks like is Benn is being built up for a cash-grab type of fight in which he gets a massive payday against a popular welterweight champion like Errol Spence Jr, making millions from that fight, and then returning to facing lesser opposition in packed houses in England.
From there, it’s predictable we’ll see a rinse and repeat process with Hearn rebuilding Benn with exclusively old veterans until he’s put in another cash-grab fight against a 147-lb world champion, and he’s blown out a second time but makes millions in the process.
Fans critical of Hearn for his opponent selection
Despite the flak he’s getting from fans, Hearn insists that he’s bringing Benn up the right way by putting him in against well-known fighters, but none of the fighters Conor has beaten recently will help him prepare for the welterweight champions.
Benn’s last five opponents:
- Chris Algieri
- Adrian Granados
- Samuel Vargas
- Sebastian Formella
- Steve Jamoye
Hearn says the guy he’s trying to get is Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner, but if he’s unable to sign him, his next choices are Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero and Maurice Hooker.
The guy that Hearn appears least excited about matching Benn against is Hooker, who only recently lost his WBO 140-lb title to Jose Ramirez in July 2019.
Hooker, 32, can still fight, but he’s NOT a welterweight and was recently stopped by Vergil Ortiz Jr. in seventh round knockout loss last March.
If Hooker were a natural welterweight, he probably wouldn’t be under consideration for a fight with Benn. In other words, he’d be in the same class as David Avanesyan, Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis, and Vergil Ortiz Jr., guys that Hearn isn’t considering for Benn to fight.
Hearn makes it clear that the former two-division world champion Guerrero (37-6-1, 20 KOs) is his backup option if he can’t get former four-division world champion Broner (34-4-1, 24 KOs) to take the fight.
From the sounds of it, Hearn is having trouble getting Broner, 32, to agree to the fight with Benn because he’s been out of the ring since February of 2021, and he wants a tune-up first at 140.
Broner obviously knows how difficult a fight with Benn, 25, would be and he’s uncomfortable with going straight into the match after 14 months out of the ring and a listless performance against his last opponent Jovanie Santiago.
The once-popular Broner looked well past it against the little-known Santiago, and he was lucky to win that fight.
Benn’s April fight being finalized
“He’ll be out in April, and we’re just finalizing his fight now,” said Hearn to DAZN on Conor Benn’s next fight. “We’d love the [Adrien] Broner fight, but we’ll have to see.
“I like Robert Guerrero; I like Maurice Hooker. I like all these kinds of fights because they give us names with profiles, and they’re the right tests.
“He’s exciting. You never see him in a bad fight,” said Hearn of Benn. “I really believe that he’s a superstar in the making, and that’s why I’m so hellbent on getting it right. 2022 is the year when I think he should challenge for a world title. Two more fights, and I think he’ll be ready.”
Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero has been past his prime since 2012, and he’ll be turning 39-years-old on March 27th. What can Conor Benn learn from fighting an older fighter like Guerrero?
Also, Guerrero’s best years of his career were at 126 and 130. He was never a good welterweight, and once he moved up to the 147-lb division in 2012, he rapidly suffered FIVE defeats.
Guerrero wasn’t losing when he was fighting at featherweight, but when he jumped up to 147 for what many boxing fans believe was for the money, he suffered loss after loss.
For Hearn to get his number one choice, Broner, he’s going to need to make a huge offer, and he might do it if he wants the fight bad enough. But let’s be real. Broner isn’t going to improve Benn in a real way.
This is more about creating more hype for Benn by getting a guy that is well known to both the UK and U.S boxing fans, and who can drive interest in the fight with his trash-talking.
Hearn says Benn is already a “Star”
“It depends on how they look. Both guys have it in their minds that this is their last fight,” said Hearn to Gareth A. Davies about the chance of the Amir Khan vs. Kell Brook winner facing Conor Benn in April.
“Conor would certainly be willing [to fight the Khan – Brook winner]. That fight’s in February. I guess the winner of that fight won’t fight again until the end of the summer or September.
“Conor needs to fight in April. We love the Robert Guerrero fight, we love the Adrien Broner fight, and we like the Maurice Hooker fight. We’re getting to the stage where he’s actually saying I’m ready for a world title shot. I want to see Conor Benn fight Adrien Broner.
“There’s still a fight or two to go for me, but still, you have to step up the levels every time to keep passing the tests.
“What he’s doing is passing the tests with flying colors every time, and he’s exciting, and he’s hitting numbers, and he’s a star,” said Hearn about the still unproven Conor Benn.
Gilfoid doesn’t agree that Conor Benn is a “star’ as hearn refers to him, but he is a money-maker, thanks to his famous dad Nigel Benn. Without a famous dead, Conor wouldn’t be nearly popular as he is right now.
Conor Benn = England’s version of Julio Chavez Jr.
The way that Hearn is bringing Conor Benn along and selling out arenas is eerily similar to how Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. was brought up a decade ago.
Like Conor Benn, Chavez Jr. took advantage of having a famous father in Julio Cesar Chavez, and he made a lot of money fighting lesser opposition. When Chavez Jr. finally did face a quality middleweight in Sergio Martinez in 2012, he was soundly beaten and his career began a rapid decline.