Conor Benn wants Crawford, Pacquiao or Eubank Jr says Eddie Hearn
By Barry Holbrook: Conor Benn has added Terence Crawford and Manny Pacquiao to the list of opponents he wants for his next fight once the WBC clears him, according to his promoter Eddie Hearn.
There will be a huge backlash if Crawford chooses to defend his WBO 147-lb title against Benn, particularly given that the Nebraska native is coming off defending his belt against a woefully overmatched David Avanesyan on December 10th.
Benn, despite being popular, is arguably a step down from Avanesyan in terms of ability, and it would be a massacre for Crawford if he were to face the inexperienced British fighter.
At this point in Crawford’s career, he’s beyond caring about the criticism from boxing fans about his opponent selection. In other words, if the Benn fight is the one that will pay the most money, Crawford will take it.
Obviously, the undisputed clash against IBF, WBA & WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr won’t be happening next and probably won’t take place this year. That opens the door for Benn if he wants to face Crawford.
Chris Eubank Jr remains the #1 target for Benn & Hearn, as that’s a fight that would play out big in the UK.
It also gives Benn a free pass should he lose, given that Eubank Jr is a middleweight and would have a considerable size advantage.
Eubank Jr has already said that the catchweight he’d agreed to before is now off the table for a Benn fight after his positive tests for a banned PED. If Benn wants to fight Eubank Jr, he’ll need to come up to 160 and face him at the total weight without a strength-draining handicap.
Benn (21-0, 14 KOs) is free to fight now, but he’s choosing to wait to have his name “publicly” cleared by the World Boxing Council over his positive tests for clomifene, says Hearn.
Adding WBO welterweight champion Crawford’s name to the list is an interesting one for Benn because this is a world champion that Conor wants to face, and that’s a whole different kettle of fish than him looking to face 44-year-old Pacquiao or Eubank Jr.
“He won’t be ready for that fight,” said Eddie Hearn to the DAZN Boxing Show when asked if Conor Benn will be available to step in and replace Ivan Redkach as the opponent for Adrien Broner on February 25th on BLK Prime PPV.
“You’ve seen a lot of stuff backwards and forwards. We’re waiting on a decision from the WBC. The WBC confirmed yesterday that Conor Benn is cleared to fight. There’s still an ongoing process with the WBC. We just want that decision because Conor Benn can fight now.
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“He’s going to fight soon, but publicly, we want him to be cleared. We don’t want this to be hanging over him, but also, his career has to resume at some point.
“So, we’re looking at opponents for Conor Benn for late Spring, and he still wants that Eubank fight, Manny Pacquiao, even Terence Crawford, whoever it’s going to be. Hopefully, we’ll get that decision soon, but he’s confirmed that he’s cleared to fight. We’d like that public announcement regarding the findings.
“Eubank-Benn is huge; it’s huge. I mean, the hatred, the build-up, the controversy. It’s twice as big as it was before, but still, Conor Benn, like I said, is cleared to fight, but we still want this decision because you’re always going to get criticized until it comes out into the light of day.
“So, his career will resume in the coming months, and hopefully, he can be cleared of all misconduct, but we’ll wait and see. But yeah, Eubank-Benn, that fight is going to happen at some point, and when it does, it’s one of the biggest fights in boxing,” said an optimistic-sounding Hearn.
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