British welterweight Conor Benn surprisingly told Piers Morgan this week that drug cheats should be banned for life, which some boxing fans would see as pretty rich coming from a person that twice tested positive for a banned PED.
The 26-year-old Benn (21-0, 14 KOs) maintains his innocence and feels that mistakes were made in testing his samples. Fans don’t understand why Benn won’t stand before the British Boxing Board of Control and explain his case to them to get his license back.
Benn’s reluctance to meet with the BBBofC makes him look guilty in the eyes of many fans, who don’t understand why he wouldn’t meet with them, especially given that he would like to still fight in the UK. That’s where his fans are located. They’re not in the U.S. in significant numbers.
“[Drug cheats in sports] should be banned for life, especially in a contact sport,” said Conor Benn to the Piers Morgan show. Yeah, banned for life. There’s no room for it.
“I don’t accept it was in my body. Not at all. Based on independent scientists looking at the reports, based on my own scientists looking at the reports, and what we found.
“The board ain’t going stop me from fighting. They can’t stop me from fighting. In this country, that’s fine; so be it.
Recently, the WBC cleared Benn, even though they’re not one of the governing bodies. They’re going to include Benn in their rankings at welterweight, but that’s not what he needs for him to resume fighting in the UK. He will need to meet with the British Boxing Board to get his license back, but it doesn’t appear he has any intention of doing that.
Benn is expected to resume his career in the summer, possibly against the 44-year-old Manny Pacquiao in a fight that could take place in Saudi Arabia. It would be interesting if the retired Pacquiao does choose to fight Benn, as he’ll receive a huge backlash from boxing fans if he makes that move.
If Benn chooses never to meet with the British Boxing Board, that could mean that he’d permanently be stuck fighting outside of the country.
While the Saudis might indulge Benn in one or two fights, as long as he’s fighting big names, that’s not a long-term situation. He would need to either return to the UK or find a country to permanently fight in and have his fights piped into the UK. Will fans still want to see Benn fight if he starts losing and returns to his form when he was battered by Cedrick Peynaud?