By Barry Holbrook: Eddie Hearn worries about Chris Algieri’s threat to Conor Benn tonight in their headliner at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.
Benn (19-0, 12 KOs) is taking a step up in class against the 37-year-old former WBO 140-lb champion Algieri (25-3, 9 KOs), and Hearn doesn’t have the foggiest idea on how he’ll do.
The only thing Hearn is sure of is the oddsmakers have the 25-year-old Benn as the favorite in the fight, but he says that will mean nothing if he fights the way he did in his bout against Cedrick Peynaud.
Conor fancies himself to be a knockout artist
Benn is only six fights removed from his second match against Peynaud, and although Hearn maintains that he’s improved measurably since then, you can’t know that for sure because his opposition hasn’t been cutting edge.
Benn must look good tonight so that Hearn can continue to put him in against increasingly better opposition. If Benn struggles against the 37-year-old Algieri, that would be a sign that Hearn needs to pump the brakes hard on his progress.
Benn has a glaring problem with his fighting style, as he fancies himself as a knockout artist despite lacking the one-punch power and defense required to fight in that manner.
Hearn says Benn has it tough tonight
“If he boxes as he did against Cedrick Peynaud, he’s going to lose every second of every round,” said Eddie Hearn to Boxing Social in speaking about Conor Benn. “This is a really, really tough fight for Conor Benn.
“Algieri is here to win. When you look at Granados, Vargas, and Formella, did they really think they could win the fight [against Benn]? I’m not so sure.
“What I do know is Algieri believes he can win, and Algieri is here to win. It’s going to be a really big test for Conor Benn.
One advantage that Algieri has is he’s fought against guys in the past with similar styles as the ‘try-hard’ Benn, and he knows how to play mandator to avoid his bull-like charges.
Algieri could be stronger
“He doesn’t realize how well that weight is going to suit him,” said Hearn about Algieri. “I told him even before this fight, ‘140 is no good for you.’ You see him on the scales; you see him building up to the fight; he looks horrendous.
“He looks really strong and healthy at 147,” said Hearn about Chris Algieri. He’s obviously very tall as well and in tremendous shape. I think it’s going to really suit him, and I think it’s going to give him better energy. I think it could give him better punch resistance.
“Conor Benn is still the favorite in the fight, but it’s going to be a really, really tricky fight and a classic clash of styles as well,” said Hearn.
Benn can’t afford to lose
If Benn loses tonight, it’s going to be a massive blow to Hearn and his Matchroom Boxing promotional company because he’s one of his revenue streams. Losing to Algieri tonight could ruin Benn as a money-maker for future fights.
You can argue that Benn’s career is essentially about bringing in money and capitalizing on his famous last name. Conor is like the UK’s version of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, a fighter that rode on the coattails for his famous father to make excellent money despite having minimal talent.
Although Hearn likes to talk of Benn challenging for a world title and one day capturing a belt, that’s unlikely to happen.
I mean, Benn will obviously get a world title shot one day, but that’ll be the end game with him losing badly. You can argue the TRUE purpose for Benn’s career is to make money against beatable opposition. In that respect, Benn shares something in common with Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis.
Mayweather Promotions are only matching Tank against beatable opposition to make money and not concerned with putting him in against the best at 130, 135, or 140.
It’s more about taking advantage of Tank’s popularity on PPV to sell mismatches to the public. With Conor Benn, he’s in the same situation, being matched carefully by his promoters to ensure he makes money without getting beaten.