Amir ‘King’ Khan says he’s not interested in fighting Conor Benn because he has nothing to offer him in terms of world titles.
Khan, 34, points out that he was already a world champion when he was the same age as Benn.
The fringe welterweight contender Benn (18-0, 12 KO) got excited last Saturday night after defeating former Khan (34-5, 21 KOs) victim Samuel Vargas (31-7-2, 14 KOs) by a first-round knockout at the Copper Box Arena in London, England.
After the fight, Benn called out Khan, Shawn Porter, and Adrien Broner. He feels he’s ready for all three of those fighters.
What surprised some boxing fans was the inclusion of former IBF 147-lb champion Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs), considering he’s not showing signs of being over-the-hill like Khan and Broner.
While Khan may not be interested in the Benn fight, promoter Eddie Hearn believes it’s possible, as long the money is there. Khan is looking for a big payday before he retires, and a fight between him and Benn might bring him the best payday out there.
Recently, Khan was calling out Kell Brook, but that match-up might not bring in the same kind of revenue as a Khan-Benn fight. Benn’s star power is skyrocketing right now, thanks to Hearn’s clever match-making.
In contrast, Brook’s career has been in a freefall since his fifth-round stoppage loss to middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin in September 2016.
Conor well done. Great kid, wish him the best.
At his age I was a world champ.
Maybe if he had some belts that fight would make sense but he’s got a long way to go yet 👊🏽 😝
— Amir Khan (@amirkingkhan) April 11, 2021
Khan vs. Benn is realistic
“It’s not an unrealistic fight if it generates enough money, and I think it does, I think it’s a great story,” said Eddie Hearn when asked by iFL TV if a fight between Benn and Amir Khan is realistic.
“Amir is not training at the moment, I think Ramadan begins this week. So he’s going to be looking to fight in October, something like that.
“I know Amir, of course, well. I know his lawyer, and I spoke to him this evening. They would definitely be up for hearing about that fight.
“It doesn’t mean the numbers make sense for them to take it, but they will definitely listen about that fight because he [Khan] wants to have a big hoorah, Amir Khan.
“He wants to make as much money as possible. That’s a banging fight at the O2, a banging fight. So we’ll see. Conor is a million miles an hour, he’s so pumped.
“He trained for a 12 round war tonight, and when he had energy, and he wanted to take on [anybody]. He’s one of those guys that just wanted to knock everyone out, didn’t he?” said Hearn of Conor Benn.
Hearn will have to show Khan the money for him to be willing to entertain the idea of fighting Benn. Obviously, Khan won’t be afraid of fighting Benn.
We’ve seen the dangerous guys Khan has fought in the past. He’s tangled with Canelo Alvarez and Danny Garcia, both of which would likely destroy Benn without too many problems.
For Khan to agree to a fight with Benn, Hearn will probably need to throw a couple of million at him at the very least.
Hearn to take Benn at the right pace
“You could see it in his eyes,” said Hearn about Benn in how amped up he stopped Vargas. “He said in an interview after, ‘I work so hard. This beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.’
“‘Mate, you’ve got the talent now. You’ve got to start believing how good you are, you’re a world-class fighter, and you work really hard.
“When you’re good and you work really hard, you’re really tough to beat.’ So I’m so excited about his future. He’s a huge star.
“I think he’s got the whole world in front of him. I’m going to take him at the right pace and get him the right fights, but we’re close to gamble time, we’re close to gamble time.
“Conor Benn is super exciting, let’s look t the future. All our focus is on him, a huge star. The world is his oyster.
“He has that X-factor, he speaks so well, he’s exciting to watch. Of course, the Nigel Benn story is nice at the same time, but he works so hard and he’s smart.
“I know he’s fiery, but he listens, he trusts me. We’ve got a great plan for him. He’s demanding, and he wants to make sure that he gets the right fights and boxes as much as he makes money.
“So he should, but he trusts the process and he’s learned from the people around him. One thing about Conor Benn.
“If you’ve watched him on TV and an interview after, you’ll probably say, ‘This bloke is a nutter.’ He’s fiery. He’s so not flash.
“He lives in the same village as me. He’s a family man, he’s got a beautiful son, a lovely wife, and he’s a good individual. He works super hard, and he’s dedicated to what he does.
“And when you’ve got a good head on your shoulders as he has, he’s just got to keep it calm and the world is his oyster,” said Hearn. About the future of Benn.
Taking Benn at the “right pace” is code for Hearn to match him carefully, keeping him against dangerous guys like Jaron Ennis, Vergil Ortiz Jr, and Shawn Porter.
It would be risky for Hearn to match Benn against David Avanesyan, who is a massive puncher with both hands. We just witnessed what Avanesyan did to Josh Kelly. Benn would be at the risk if he took on Avanesyan right now.
Speaking of Josh Kelly, he would be an excellent option for Benn’s next fight. I don’t know how fair that would be to Kelly to match him tough after his loss to Avanesyan.
But if he were willing to take the risk, Kelly vs. Benn would be a fun fight for three or four rounds. Kelly bruises too easily for him to face a puncher like Benn, and he doesn’t possess enough power to have a chance of winning.
The referee saved Samuel Vargas
“It was straight savage from Conor. I was actually nervous for Conor,” continued Hearn. “He’s one of those guys that when you talk about behind closed doors, it doesn’t suit him.
“He’s the kind of guy that is going to fight off the crowd, and I just thought. I just thought, ‘Just get through tonight Conor.’
“[Referee] Michael Alexander, I see some say he jumped in early [to stop the Benn vs. Vargas fight].
“I think he may have saved him from getting absolutely obliterated. I don’t think Samuel Vargas knew who he was because he was caught cold.
“Whatever you think about Conor Benn, whether you love him or hate him, you have to respect that performance and you have to respect that statement,” said Hearn.
The referee may have saved Vargas, but it still looked like a premature stoppage in the eyes. Vargas should have been allowed to hang in there for another 10 seconds gainst before just to make sure because he seemed to be fine at the time.