By Jake Tiernan: Conor Benn will return to the ring on December 23rd for a potential fight against middleweight contender Chris Eubank Jr. on DAZN PPV at a still-to-be-determined venue.
In a trial run for the Eubank Jr. fight last Saturday night, Benn (22-0, 14 KOs) beat Rodolfo Orozco (32-4-3, 24 KOs) by a ten round unanimous decision in Orlando, Floria.
If not for the 24-year-old Orozco slowing down the frantic pace that he set in the first five rounds, Benn could have lost, and Eddie Hearn would be getting lambasted by the fans.
Hearn likely figured it was okay to match Benn against Orozco, as this is a second-tier fighter who had been beaten by journeyman Jose Quintero Velarde (22-33-3,9 KOs) in 2018. What Hearn didn’t take into account was these factors:
- Benn’s 17-month layoff
- Conor’s power not carrying to 154
- Orozco’s motivation: This was his Super Bowl
- The strong chin of Orozco
Benn got the victory by the scores 99-91, 99-91, and 96-94, but the fight showed that he could be too small & weak to defeat Eubank Jr. in December.
Whatever the outcome of the Eubank Jr-Benn fight, Conor needs to move back down to 147 because he’s not big or powerful enough to compete with quality opposition at 154 or 160. It doesn’t matter if Benn is active in his career.
He’s not big enough to beat top 154-pounders like Tim Tszyu & Jose Ramos. Putting Benn in with a top-flight 160-pounder like Janibek Alimkhanuly.
Eubank Jr. isn’t top-level. He’s just an aging domestic-level fighter who beat a shot, injured & old Liam Smith. That’s his claim to fame.
Nigel Benn: “I’m glad you had a fight like that,” Nigel said to iFL TV Last Saturday night.
Conor Benn: “I bet you were sitting there laughing. ‘I know what this fight is going to be.'”
Nigel: “No. He was tough, regardless of what anybody [says]. That was your hardest to date.”
Conor: “No, it wasn’t.”
Nigel: “I’ve never seen a guy take that many punches and keep walking.”
Conor: “It wasn’t the hardest.”
Nigel: “Who was it? Peynaud.”
Conor: “I was a kid back then. What was I, 19?”
Nigel: “Look at you now, mate. You done really good.”
Conor: “I’m just excited to be back. I’m so relieved.”
Eddie Hearn: “You needed that bad. The best thing about that was he was a big light middleweight [Orozco]. If you’re going to fight Eubank, size-wise, that was good because he was really a middleweight. I don’t think Eubank can take those shots.
“Liam Smith cleaned him out, and those shots there were absolutely brutal. He needed that. All the stuff, ”l’ll go straight into a big fight.’ When you’re about to go through what he went through, you need that bad.
“Look, he’s not world elite-level, Orozco, but he’s Mexican. It was probably a bad decision. He was tough to fight, but we wanted a proper fight.
“The whole point of the exercise was to get rounds. That was probably two or three rounds too many, and he [Benn] just likes to have a war all the time. It’s exciting.
“He looked really sharp. He got a little tired toward the end because it was a really hectic pace, but it was solid rounds once he woke up and had a couple of weeks off. December 23rd proposed date. Thirteen weeks or fourteen weeks.
“Two weeks off to rest his body. He won’t rest much and then go back to camp to get ready. Don’t forget all the pressure this week. You guys were asking questions, the media asking questions, interrogating him about the board, accusing him of this. Not you, in general. It’s unbelievably draining.
“You saw that he was tired after six or seven rounds. It was a fast pace. I’m going to Orozco’s changing room and sign him,” said Hearn.