Eddie Hearn believes welterweight contender Conor Benn is heading towards British superstardom and predicts he’ll be the next pay-per-view star in the UK.
The question is, can Benn become a PPV star without capturing a world title? We’ve seen Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora both become pay-per-view stars in the UK without winning world titles.
Benn (17-0, 11 KOs) has an important fight this Saturday night against veteran Samuel Vargas (31-6-2, 14 KOs) at the Wembley Arena. The fight is scheduled for 10 rounds and will be shown on DAZN and Sky Sports.
Hearn will need to up the level of opposition to turning the 24-year-old Benn into a PPV attraction, you would think.
Benn’s last fight was against Sebastian Formella in November of last year, and that match showed us nothing.
Formella was no threat to beating Benn, and the fight was a one-sided beat down.
HAPPY FIGHT WEEK 🥊 pic.twitter.com/IsHbcWGTTf
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) April 5, 2021
If Benn wins on Saturday against the 31-year-old Vargas, he’s ut three fighters on his target list:
- Amir Khan
- Josh Kelly
- Kell Brook
Boxing fans will likely pay to see Benn fight Brook or Khan, but not necessarily because of him.
Brook and Khan are still popular in the UK, and they can be matched up with a cardboard prop, and fans would still pay to see them fight.
For Benn to become a pay-per-view attraction in his own right, he’ll need to show that he can beat the cutting-edge fighters at 147, which means guys like Vergil Ortiz.
I don’t know that Benn has anywhere near enough talent for him to beat a guy like Ortiz.
At this point, you can argue that Maurice Hooker might be too good for Benn. If Hearn wants to see what he has with Conor, he needs to match him against Hooker next in a sink-or-swim type of fight.
It would be a good idea for Hearn to save former IBF welterweight champion Brook for last because he would be a real threat to Benn if that fight happened right now and 154.
“When you look at the future of British boxing, and British stars, Conor is the new breed, he’s the next pay-per-view star,” said Hearn to the Mirror.
“You only do that by reaching a certain level, or by great performances.”
It’s hard to see Conor Benn as a future star, let alone a pay-per-view attraction, but it’s obviously possible when you look at Whyte and Chisora fighting regularly on Sky Box Office.
If boxing fans are willing to pay to watch Whyte and Chisora on PPV, by all means they’ll happily pay to see Benn fight on pay-per-view as well.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) April 5, 2021
What Benn has going for him is his last name, as he’s the son of the legend Nigel Benn. Unfortunately, Conor is nowhere near as fast, powerful, or as big as Nigel. We’re talking about two different types of talents.
Conor likely shapes up to be a career-long contender-level fighter at 147, and that’s probably the best you can hope for him.
Benn might get lucky and win a secondary title at 147 if one comes vacant and he’s matched against the right guy. But if Benn faces a good contender like Vergil Ortiz Jr, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, or Danny Garcia, he’ll lose to those guys. He’s not that type of talent, unfortunately.
“We know Conor rates extremely well, he really hits numbers digitally and across social media, and people love the story,” said Hearn. “People are intrigued by him.”
Conor is popular because of his dad Nigel, but he’s not beaten anyone to earn his popularity. The jury is still out whether Benn has the ability to be more than a contender/domestic level fighter.