Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn is mapping out a clever five-fight plan for welterweight Conor Benn, and he says he’ll be ready to challenge for a world title after three more fights.
Hearn says Benn (18-0, 12 KOs) has progressed to the level of being a “Superstar” following his first-round blitzing of journeyman Samuel Vargas last April.
But at the same time, Hearn doesn’t want to get careless by throwing the 24-year-old Benn in with someone a little good.
Hence, he’s being matched against journeyman Adrien Granados (21-8-3, 15 KOs) in his next fight on July 31st at the Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex.
Granados, 31, has been in with many top fighters during his 13-year professional career, and he should be able to give Benn some rounds.
As long as we don’t see another odd stoppage like Benn’s last fight against Samuel Vargas, Granados will be a good gauge to compare him to some of his past opponents like Shawn Porter, Adrien Broner, and Danny Garcia.
Benn vs. Granados = War
“He’s better than [Samuel] Vargas, he has better wins on his resume than Vargas, I think he’s technically better than Vargas, and that’s what Conor Benn needs,” said Eddie Hearn to Pro Boxing Fans about Benn’s July 31st fight against Adrian Granados.
“It’s going to be an absolute war; every fight with Conor Benn is exciting.
“Granados ain’t going out in the first round. I know Conor says he’s taking him out inside six, but this is a war.
“I know this is Granados’ big chance and last chance to do some damage at that kind of level, so I think this is the perfect fight,” said Hearn.
This could be a war between Granados and Benn, but maybe not.
The 31-year-old Granados has been around the block a few times, and he’s probably not going to want to turn the fight into a war against the much younger 24-year-old Benn.
Granados is better than Benn’s last opponent Samuel Vargas, but not that much better.
Adrian has won only one fight out of his last four, which shows you how Hearn is choosing to match Benn.
If Hearn really wanted to test Benn, he’d match him against someone like David Avanesyan or Vergil Ortiz Jr in a sink or swim fashion.
Hearn wants to move Conor the right way
“I’d put him in a Khan fight, and I’d put him in a Brook fight now,” Hearn continued about Benn.
“But when you’re talking about Shawn Porter, and when we talk about [Jaron] Ennis, we have to progress Conor Benn in the right way.
“We just done a new five-fight deal with Conor Benn. His numbers are sensational.
“He is one of the biggest fighters on Sky Spots. His digital numbers are through the roof. We have to get it right. The kid’s a superstar.
“So we’re not just going to sling him into a fight where he’s an underdog right now.
“When he goes into a fight like that, he will be 100% ready. Firstly, he’s got to get past Granados, who is as tough as they come,” Hearn said.
I hate to burst Hearn’s bubble, but Benn isn’t a superstar. He’s a guy with a popular father in Nigel Benn, who has been able to take advantage of that by bringing in huge numbers on Sky while matched against beatable opposition.
To be a true superstar, Benn has must prove that he can beat guys like Manny Pacquiao, Errol Spence Jr, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Jaron Ennis, and Vergil Ortiz Jr.
Until then, Benn is just a guy that has a famous dad and who has been matched carefully against weak opposition.
As Hearn points out, Benn isn’t ready to be thrown to the wolves right now because he doesn’t have the experience.
If Benn’s whole thing is to throw flurries and hope the referee prematurely steps in to give him a victory, it’s not going to work against the better welterweights.
Benn will get his head taken off if he fights in a wreckless manner against guys like Jaron Ennis and Vergil Ortiz.
Benn’s five-fight plan
“Yeah, we’ve got a new five-fight plan with him [Benn] that we believe will take him to the world championship,” Hearn said when if the plan is to match Benn against a former world title challenger like Danny Garcia.
“So I’d like to see him box three times this year and see him as a part of our new deal with DAZN. DAZN is giving our fighters the ability to box internationally around the world,” said Hearn.
Benn has already fought once in 2021, defeating Samuel Vargas by a first-round knockout on April 10th.
If Hearn’s plan for Benn to fight three times this year holds, then he’s got two more fights depending on how things go against Granados.
The way that Benn breezed through Samuel Vargas in his first-round knockout last April, it’s hard to count that as an actual fight. The referee jumped in much too quickly when Benn unleashed a flurry of shots.
Benn never really got hit in that fight. He threw a flurry of shots, and that was it. With fights like that, Benn should be able to fight four or five times this year.
“So Conor Benn, who’s boxed in America before, has just come back from doing some punditry in Las Vegas, he should fight again in America,” said Hearn.
“I believe after three fights. We can certainly start thinking about the world championships. But it’s a tough division.
“When you look at the guys that are going to be leaving the division behind, which will eventually be Manny Pacquiao and Errol Spence, Shawn Porter, and Terence Crawford, you’ve got the guys coming through like Vergil Ortiz and Jaron Ennis.
“F*** hell, it doesn’t get any easier, does it? So you’ve got to be really good. So we’ve got to give him every chance to be really good,” said Hearn.
It sounds like the plan is for Hearn to have Conor Benn wait out Pacquiao, Crawford, Porter, and Spence to either move out of the division or retire before he has him step up.
That plans will only work for Benn if he doesn’t have to fight Vergil Ortiz, Jaron Ennis, or David Avanesyan for a world title. If Benn gets stuck fighting one of those guys, he may not find success.