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Is Conor Benn cashing out against Chris Eubank Jr?

Image: Is Conor Benn cashing out against Chris Eubank Jr?

By Jack Tiernan: Trainer Joe Gallagher feels that the young welterweight Conor Benn is already looking to cash out against middleweight Chris Eubank Jr without ever having won even domestic level titles during his short six-year professional career.

The fight has cash-out written all over it for Benn, and you’ve got to wonder why he would be looking to make this move at this early juncture of his career.

Does he feel he’s not up to the job to mix it with the other young lions, Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis and Vergil Ortiz Jr?

It’s being talked about that the 32-year-old Eubank Jr. will drop down to 156 or 157 lbs to fight Benn at a catchweight on October 8th on DAZN pay-per-view.

The fight is viewed as criminal in the eyes of some fans because Benn is being thrown to the wolves in this contest, and it’s believed there’s the potential of his career being shortened due to the risk of physical injury against the big-punching combination puncher Eubank Jr.

It’s comparable in some ways to how Kell Brook moved up from welterweight to challenge middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin for his IBF/IBO/WBC belts in September 2016.

At the time, Brook was the IBF 147-lb champion, who agreed to move up to 160 on short notice to challenge Golovkin. The result was a disaster for Brook’s career, with him suffering an injury in losing by a fifth-round knockout.

Gallagher doesn’t understand how a fight between the 25-year-old Benn (21-0, 15 KOs) and former IBO super middleweight champion Eubank Jr (32-2, 23 KOs) could be sanctioned.

It’s not only the fact that Benn fought even local lads at the British or Commonwealth level, but Eubank Jr. has never fought below 159 in his career. He could be weight drained for the fight, and he could get hurt against Benn if he’s in a weakened state.

Conor Benn lacks the experience

“Fair play to them. Conor Benn, this is a tough business you want to make money,” said Joe Gallagher to Secondsout about Benn’s potential fight against middleweight Chris Eubank Jr. in October.

“Eubank Jr obviously wants to make money, but for boxing, we’re taking this fight from the hardcore into the YouTubers, and it’s becoming an event.

“Where’s young Benn’s plan fighting for an English, a British, a Commonwealth, European, or a World, and where has Eubank Jr’s drive gone to become a world champion? He should be fighting one of the top three middleweights or super middleweights,” said Gallagher.

Some boxing fans would see Benn’s decision to fight Eubank Jr in what appears to be a career cash-out as a sign that he lacks the confidence to stick it out at 147, given that he would tangle with the young gun Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis.

Benn has got to know that fighting Boots Ennis is a whole another kettle of fish than the old guys that his promoter Eddie Hearn has been feeding him one after another. If Benn feels he could never beat Boots Ennis, a cash-out against Eubank Jr makes sense.

Benn will make millions by fighting Eubank Jr., moving to Surrey, and living like a king in a castle, with maids and a footman. According to Playerswiki, Conor’s net worth is $7.9 million. That’s huge money for a fighter that hasn’t captured a world title. If Benn fights Eubank Jr, you can’t imagine that number will easily swell to over $10 million.

“Another thing is if you took the Eubank and Benn name off them and presented it to the board [it could be problems],” said Gallagher.  “‘I have a welterweight here who has never fought for an English, British, or Commonwealth title going in against a kid [Eubank Jr] that was a former world champion at IBO, been in the World Boxing Super Series, fought George Groves, and I think the highest Eubank Jr has been is 159 in 2015.

“He’s [Eubank Jr] never made this weight that they’re talking about making seven years later. Surely, there are alarm bells and health risks. I’m sure that bout won’t be sanctioning. But because it’s a Benn and a Eubank, you’re really buying into it because of their fathers.

“That’s a big sorry really where we’ve gone with boxing. So what are we going to have next in two years? Campbell Hatton vs. Anthony Crolla’s son, William.

Is Benn cashing out?

“Where are we going with this? What happened to the traditional route of wanting to win the title and become a world champion,” said Gallagher. “I’m probably going to get stick for this for being the old school of boxing and wanting to do things the traditional route.

To do it this way is it a cash out from Conor where he can rebuild instead of going and fighting on because there are no opportunities at that division at welterweight to win a world title when you have Boots Ennis and them type of fighters. It’s very hard for him.

“Eubank Jr, come on. It’s middle or super middleweight; get in the mix and go fight Caleb Plant. Let’s do Billy Joe Saunders again. There are big fights at your weight. Emotionally, he [Eubank Jr] thinks to himself; this is easy fighting a welterweight and all the build-up.

“For the younger generation, and boxing is losing fans, the attraction for 13 and 17-year-olds is dwindling. They’re all watching UFC and MMA. Maybe we need this type of thing [Eubank Jr vs.  Benn] to bring fans back into the sport.

“That’s where we’re going now, isn’t it? That’s where we’re going with Benn and Eubank Jr [towards the YouTuber realm]. We understand when we saw Triller, and they’re doing like Roy Jones and Mike Tyson after their careers,” Gallagher said.

Eubank Jr vs. Benn = risky for both

“Let’s just concentrate on careers,” Gallagher continued. “Why don’t go out and become a world middleweight champion, or why don’t you become a British welterweight champion? I don’t think Conor Benn has fought for the English. I don’t think he has. I don’t think he’s done 12 rounds.

“Already, the rumors are circulating. Eubank Jr will agree to it; he’ll turn up, fail weight, pay the fine, and the fight still goes on. It’s clutching straws to try and make a fight in British boxing, yet there is really good fights to be made in British boxing, really good fights.

“We just got to get back to having good domestic fights and everyone fighting each other. I just think the promoters working together.

“We’ve seen in the past over the years. Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson, Mayweather-Pacquiao, all those big fights that they said couldn’t be made were eventually made. I think for the best of the sport, everyone needs to sit down and just do a deal that is fair and reasonable.

“The fighters are the people in charge. They should demand. When you’re a boxer, and you turn pro, you pick your trainer, you pick your manager, and you pick your promoter. The fighter should go, ‘No, you go out for me; you’re getting a percentage and make that fight for me.’

“That’s it. The board needs to start making them fights and putting them together as well.

“For Conor Benn, there’s the experience and everything else. I’m not knocking Conor Benn. I think he’s improved vastly since he first came on with it. He had that dodgy fight [Cedrick Peynaud] early on with his career, but he’s come on really well. Tony Simms is doing a great job with him.

“I’m a huge Conor Benn fan, but I’m just thinking to myself, it’s a bit of a cash-out. But Eubank Jr has been at 168 and 160, and now you take him down to 158, 156, and the lightest of his career is 159.

“He needs to be assessed and looked at all the time because if anything was to happen, anything, wow. All for the price of a dollar. There was a huge outcry in putting Kell Brook with GGG [in 2016]. He moved up a couple of weight divisions [from welterweight to middleweight].

“Kell Brook was a world champion at the [147-lb] weight division moving up. Conor Benn has never fought at that level. It could be [dangerous]. I want to make sure everything is done right, but Eubank Jr. moved up in weight for a reason. He didn’t move down, did he?” said Gallagher.

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