Promoter Eddie Hearn is warning Conor Benn not to “f*** up” the progress that he’s making towards superstardom by taking a dangerous fight against veteran middleweight Chris Eubank Jr.
Hearn plans on putting Benn in with another sure-thing gimme in his next fight against the old-timer Chris van Heerden on April 16th. The 34-year-old Van Heerden has already agreed to the fight with Benn, says Hearn.
The unbeaten welterweight contender Benn (20-0, 13 KOs) is tempted by the money and the fame he can get by moving up to middleweight to face the 32-year-old Eubank Jr. in a catchweight fight at 156 or 157.
Benn, 25, feels that if he beats Eubank Jr, it would take his career immediately to the next level, making him a star overnight after just one fight.
In other words, Benn wouldn’t have to slog through six to ten fights against dangerous contenders at 147 before turning into a star.
He would be transformed into a star with just one win over Eubank Jr, and everything from that point on would be massive money fights no matter who he faces.
Thus far, Hearn has done a good job of shielding Benn from the harsh reality of the welterweight division, steering him away from the killers David Avanesyan, Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis, and Vergil Ortiz Jr.
As an example of Hearn’s careful approach to Benn’s career, he’s matched him against the lower-level fighters in his last six fights:
- Chris Algieri
- Adrian Granados
- Sebastian Formella
- Samuel Vargas
- Steve Jamoye
- Jussi Koivula
Hearn warns Benn: ‘Don’t f*** it up’
“Conor is a fighter, so he wants all these fights now. So when he starts talking about Eubank, he’d probably fight Eubank at 160,” said Eddie Hearn to iFL TV about Benn.
“So, don’t f*** it up and do something stupid because the money is unbelievable,” said Hearn in sending Conor Benn a warning to stay away from Eubank Jr.
“The money is going to come and the money is there already, but Conor is feisty, and wants to get in there with everyone and fight everyone in big-money fights. That will come and we want the big-money fights, but we also want to do things right.
“[Eubank Jr’s promoter] Kalle [Sauerland] messaged me and said, ‘Who have you been talking to?’ And I said, ‘No one, but do you want to talk about it? We’ll talk about it.’ But he’s got circles, Eubank and his mates. I’m sure everybody looks at it and goes, ‘wow.’
“It’s a massive money fight. I don’t know Eubank in terms of his weight,” said Hearn. “He’s tight at 160, but it’s how far can you come down?”
“It’s realistic from our [standpoint],” said Benn about a fight against Eubank Jr. at a catchweight.
“For me and ultimately it’s Conor’s decision, but for me, I wouldn’t want that fight over 154,” said Hearn. “You’ve got two guys in a catchweight in the middle, and I don’t see Eubank making 154. 155, 156, I don’t know.
“It has to be a catchweight because, you know. Also, there’s rehydration, but again, there are all these things to consider. But listen, if the deal was right, the money was right and it was presented to Conor,” said Hearn.
It might be a good idea for Conor Benn to take the fight with Eubank Jr. if the money is out of this world good.
I mean, we don’t know what Benn’s future will hold, as the opposition that Hearn has been matching him against has been dreadfully poor.
We don’t know if Benn is improving in a genuine way, considering that he’s fighting sub-level fighters that most of the top 15 at welterweight would destroy just as easily as he is.
When Hearn does step Benn up against a quality welterweight for the first time in his career in 2023 or 2024, there’s an excellent chance he’s going to be exposed and badly beaten.
With fighters that turn professional after having excellent amateur careers, they’ve had years of experience fighting high-caliber opposition to improve.
When they do turn pro, they’re ready to fight at a high level and don’t need years of experience before fighting for a world title.
In Benn’s case, he didn’t have an amateur background, and he’s not getting the chance to fight quality guys that can prepare him to challenge for a world title against Errol Spence Jr, Yordenis Ugas, or Terence Crawford.
Benn 2 fights away from world title
“But for me, I think he [Benn] can go on and win a world title at 147,” said Hearn. That’s the goal, and I don’t want to be derailed from that focus and that target unless the opportunity was too good not to look at. We shall see,” said Hearn.
“We’re so close now,” said Benn.
“You’ve got this fight [Chris van Heerden], and then your next fight [Adrien Broner?],” said Hearn in talking about Benn’s progression.
“After whoever I got next, then you’ve got Ugas, Spence fight,” said Benn on who he could be facing after his next two fights.
“With the way, you’re going and the way your profile is going,” said Hearn.
“Josh Taylor, he wants it,” said Benn. “He’s gone to me, ‘Me and you, let’s get it on.’
“At 156,” said Benn when asked what weight he’d fight Chris Eubank Jr.
“I don’t think Eubank would come down to 156, but anyway,” said Hearn. “But they’re at very different stages of their careers. Conor is an upcoming fighter looking to challenge for a world title.
Eubank is in the last stages of his career,” continued Hearn. “That’s the kind of fight a bit like Khan-Brook where you both say to each other, ‘Listen, do you want to cop a payday because we’re almost done?’
“But what you don’t want to do when we’re chasing world championships at 147 is to make a fight like that [Eubank Jr], get beat, and all of a sudden derail the dream, which is to become welterweight world champion.
“But we’re also up for discussing that fight because it’s a huge fight, but I don’t want to see him [Conor] move up to 156, 157 and fight a guy [Eubank Jr] that is going to rehydrate to 175, lose and then all of a sudden, we’re derailed for what the plan is, which is the plan is going beautifully well to go and progress and win a world title at 147,” said Hearn on his plans for guiding Benn’s career.
“Why do you keep saying ‘Lose’?” said Benn to Hearn. “Because what if I win?”
“But you’re at a total disadvantage,” said Hearn in trying to reason with the greenhorn Benn what he’d be up against in facing the old fox Eubank Jr.
“Do you think so?” said Benn to Hearn.
“You’re a 147-pound welterweight, and you want to go up to 157, 158 pounds to fight at middleweight. This is why you need people like Tony Sims around you because you would probably fight Canelo,” said Hearn to Benn.
“Why not?” said Benn, possibly thinking about the paycheck he’d get for the Canelo fight.
“See?” said Hearn. “But, I think it’s [Eubank Jr vs. Benn] fight, and I’m not against it but there are some sensible heads on, saying, look, Conor Benn is in a fantastic position. He’s getting better and better and bigger and bigger.