Conor Benn backup options: Boots Ennis, Thurman, Barrios & Vergil Ortiz

By Charles Brun - 11/28/2023 - Comments

Promoter Eddie Hearn has four potential American options for Conor Benn to face next if he can’t get the clash with middleweight Chris Eubank Jr. finalized for February 3rd.

Hearn still hopes to get the fight done with the 34-year-old Eubank Jr. (33-3, 24 KOs). He says they’re ready to sign the contract, but they’re waiting on Eubank Jr., who took nine weeks last time.

Benn would be better off fighting one of his backup options, as they’re at least relevant fighters, ranked in the top 15, and in the case of Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis, he’s a world champion at 147.

If Conor wanted more respect from the boxing public, he’d wash his hands of the Eubank Jr. fight and focus on fighting one of his backup options.

Eubank Jr. is just an aging career underachiever¬†who isn’t ranked in the top 15 at 160 and is basically just hustling fights rather than going after the belts at middleweight.

The way Eubank Jr. looked in his two fights with Liam Smith, he would stand zero chance of beating any of the middleweight champions. You throw Eubank Jr. in with one of these 160-lb champions, and it ends badly for him: Jermall Charlo, Carlos Adames, Janibek Alimkhanuly, or Erislandy Lara.

The back-up options for Benn:

Jaron Ennis
Keith Thurman
Mario Barrios
Vergil Ortiz

Hearn hopes Eubank Jr. vs. Benn will be finalized this week

“It’s not on until the fight is signed, and it’s not signed. Firstly, the fight isn’t on, but I expect, or I hope is a better word, to finalize it this week,” said Eddie Hearn to Boxing Social about the Chris Eubank Jr. vs. Conor Benn fight for February.

Conor Benn has already asked us to look for additional options for him on February 3rd because he can’t just wait on Chris Eubank and wait on Chris Eubank. But I hope Kalle [Sauerland] can get some movement this week.”

If the 27-year-old Benn wants to aim high and make something out of his career, he should forget about fighting aging domestic-level scrubs like Eubank Jr. or old badly washed ex-champions like Keith Thurman and target fights against Boots Ennis, Roiman Villa, and Giovani Santillan.

It’s obviously too late for Benn to try and push for a fight with Terence Crawford or Errol Spence because those guys are nearing the end of their careers, and they won’t want anything to do with him.

“Normally, about this time, it’s put up for shut-up time. It’s a situation where you have to make your move,” said Hearn. “I think we’re nine weeks out on Saturday for the fight, so we would really want to announce the fight this weekend or the beginning of next week.

Conor Benn’s other options

“If we can’t get that done, then we’ll definitely look for other options for Conor Benn. But we’re hopeful it can be finalized. Expected to? I do expect to finalize it this week.

“We’re good to go. We can sign that contract with Chris Eubank Jr tomorrow from our side. Conor is up for it. It’s a fight that he’s wanted for a long time. He also won’t wait for it past this week because he needs to prepare. He needs his time for the fight,” said Hearn.

It would be a waste of Benn’s career for him to step into the hustler role we’ve seen with Eubank Jr. and just look for money fights against British-level fighters.

Benn should at least try to make something of himself by testing his ability against the top ten level welterweights, and Charles Brun is NOT talking about these types of fighters: Chris Algieri, Chris Van Heerden, Adrian Granados, Samuel Vargas, and Sebastian Formella.

“He’s given me three or four names at 147 or close to, and he just wants to make a massive fight,” said Hearn. “But, of course, for both guys, Conor and Eubank, it’s just a fight, and it would be madness if it didn’t happen, but we’ll see.

“He’s not suspended until that case is heard, and don’t forget, he won the first case, and we strongly feel he’ll win the appeal from the Board of Control. So, we want to get that moving, but at the same time, he’s going to fight, he’s scheduled to fight, he will fight on February the third, and hopefully, it’ll be Chris Eubank Jr.

“Yeah, Jaron Ennis, Keith Thurman, Mario Barrios, and Vergil Ortiz,” said Hearn on backup options for Conor Benn if the fight with Eubank Jr. doesn’t happen on February 3rd. “These are all guys that Conor wants to face. He wants to challenge himself.”

Hopefully, the rumors of Conor Benn fighting Kell Brook after his fight with Eubank Jr. aren’t true because that would make a joke out of his career. If all Benn is going to do is fight old guys who are past it, what kind of career is that?

Hearn should feed Brook to Regis Prograis after he loses to Devin Haney or put him in with Richardson Hitchins so he can rebuild his credibility after his boring performance against Jose Zepeda last September.

“They’re all really tough fights, as is Chris Eubank Jr. because it’s up at 160. He just wants to jump in,” said Hearn. “He [Benn] had that run-out [against Rodolfo Orozco last September] recently, and all the cobwebs are blown off. Now, he just wants to challenge himself.”

Benn would lose badly to Boots Ennis, but he’d get a lot of attention in that fight. It’s hard to say how Benn would fare against the 35-year-old Thurman, Vergil Ortiz or Mario Barrios. Those would probably be tough fights for Benn, given his inactivity.

“He doesn’t really care who. He just wants a date and an opponent,” said Hearn about Conor Benn. “But we’re just kind of like saying, ‘Give Eubank another few don’t want to lose this fight.’

“It’s the biggest fight in the country, and I do expect to get it over the line, but it’s something that Eubank does, which is to push it to the wire.

“It happened last time. It took probably nine weeks to close it last time, but we’re at the wire. So, hopefully, we can get it done,” said Hearn.

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