Conor Benn: Terence Crawford Would Smash Chris Eubank Jr. to Pieces

Not long after Conor Benn and Manny Pacquiao came face-to-face in Saudi Arabia, Benn’s bitter domestic rival Chris Eubank Jr. teased a fight poster advertising a contest between himself and Terence Crawford.

While there has been no confirmation whatsoever from Eubank’s side or Team Crawford that a potential fight between the middleweight from Brighton in the UK and the brilliant Omaha welterweight could actually happen, Crawford and Eubank do at least share the same trainer, Brian “BoMac” McIntyre, and it is a bout Benn would like to see. 

“I think it will be a great fight, well, not a great fight, it will be a very one-sided fight, but I’d like to see the fight because I’d like to see Eubank get smashed to pieces,” said Benn. 

“I think everyone looks at Eubank because he’s easy work. After his last few performances, he hasn’t looked great at all. He’s definitely on a downhill trajectory.”

Benn and Eubank had been due to fight at the end of 2022, until two positive VADA tests side-lined Benn, who has not boxed in the UK since. He has subsequently fought in Florida and Las Vegas, and there have been talks with Manny Pacquiao about a possible bout in May or June in Saudi Arabia.

Benn is not sure that the idea of Crawford moving up to tackle Eubank is not a hoax. 

“I’m not a betting man, but if I was I’d bet you I can almost guarantee you that that’s all smoke; smoke and mirrors,” predicted Benn. “It’s not happening, it’s all rubbish, but obviously Eubank wants the fight with me, so he ain’t fighting Janibek [Alimkhanuly], so why’s he fighting another welterweight? With the same trainer? Do you know what I mean?”

Talking to BoxingScene, Benn sounded fatigued by the very mention of Eubank’s name. Does he think that fight has gone for good, despite promoter Eddie Hearn predicting it would do record numbers in the UK?

“Who knows?” said Benn. “I don’t really have much interest in him. I’m a 147 fighter. That’s the reality of it, I’m 147, and the guys I’ve fought in my last fights were quite big, and also in 10-ounce gloves, so I can’t wait to get back in those eight-ounce gloves and do some serious damage. There’s definitely a massive difference in the gloves. Put 10s on and put eights on and feel the difference. But with Eubank, yeah, that’s probably the only fight I’d go up to 160 for.” 

The Benn-Eubank debate has been ferocious in British boxing circles for several reasons, not least because Benn would be jumping up two weight classes to fight in a division he would not otherwise be bothered with, and because Eubank Jr. for many, including his famous father, should not be boxing at middleweight any longer, rather at 168lbs.

“Let’s see if there’s any uproar about him [Eubank Jr.] fighting a welterweight [Crawford] again, and let’s see if there’s any uproar at him fighting at 160,” Benn added, of the Crawford-Eubank rumour. “It’s ridiculous. The public pick and choose what’s suitable and what’s not suitable, when it suits.” 

Benn is awaiting news of a hearing after the British Boxing Board of Control and UKAD appealed a decision by the National Anti-Doping Panel to allow Benn to return to the ring in the United Kingdom.

There is no question Benn wants to get in the world title mix, but he also sees another lucrative path given the demands of vast sections of the British public, not least finishing the rivalry of the Eubank and Benn fathers from the 1990s, and the constant spectre of Sheffield’s former IBF champion Kell Brook returning to the ring.

“People want big fights,” Benn continued. “That’s what the public wants. World titles don’t mean what they used to mean, which is a crazy thing to say. I think with the interims, the silvers, the diamonds, the supers, it’s like world titles don’t mean what they used to mean, and it feels like the public just wants the mega fights, and the mega fights for me are the names you mentioned. Even though I still want to win a world title, but we’ve called for [Mario] Barrios and the only way these guys are going to fight me are if I’m mandatory. 

“We’ll see what happens. I just want to fight and whoever that is, no problem.”

Brook was also in Saudi Arabia at the Anthony Joshua-Francis Ngannou fight last week, but while Benn talked business with Manny Pacquiao, there were no commercial discussions with Brook.

“I saw him briefly, I didn’t speak to him but that’s another fight I know the public may be interested in,” Benn went on. “But I’ll fight anyone. I really will fight anyone.” 

Asked about the hangover of the appeal looming large, and public opinion – where Benn still is divisive but he has retained a significant UK fanbase – he said: “I just want this to be done.

“I can’t carry on caring what people think. What’s done is done. It is what it is. I can’t go, ‘Oh, he thinks this, she thinks that,’ because it’s actually got to a stage where I don’t really care, to be honest.”

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