Benn decisions Dobson in battle of unbeatens


LAS VEGAS — Conor Benn made a prediction.

The British boxer was going to attack Pete Dobson at the opening bell with a straight right, followed by a “nasty” left hook to the head.

“Then another 1-2 if you’re not down already,” Benn promised.

“This luxury kid, lived a privileged life, ain’t coming out the mud, ain’t got that story … but I’m going to come out there and I’m coming to take your head clean off your shoulders.”

Not quite.

Benn had to go the distance in the welterweight bout to pick up a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-110, 118-110) to improve to 23-0 and give Dobson (16-1) his first career loss Saturday at the Chelsea Ballroom at the Cosmopolitan.

ESPN scored the bout 118-110 in favor of Benn.

“He didn’t engage,” Benn said. “It is hard to get the knockout when you try and draw someone into a fight and there was nothing coming back…it was easy work, really.

“I go into every fight with the intention of breaking them down, breaking their spirit and knocking them out. It is hard to fight with someone who actually don’t think they can win the fight anyway; they come here to survive. It was like a journeyman. He was an all-right journeyman. He didn’t engage. He didn’t really throw. The only time was when I made silly mistakes. Apart from that, it was a one-sided beat down.”

CompuBox punch stats had Benn landing 44.6% of his total punches (246 of 552), compared to Dobson’s 28.9% (146 of 505).

While Benn did land those promised combinations, the power was not there. Same for Dobson, as there were no knockdowns in the 12-round fight.

Even as Dobson was more efficient in power punches, landing 45.1% (105-233), Benn recorded more in connecting on 44.5% (141-317).

The almost plodding, flat-footed, workman-like style of Dobson, who is from the Bronx, New York, and weighed in at 150.6 pounds, seemed to frustrate the busier, bouncier Benn, who also weighed in at 150.6.

Especially in the middle rounds.

That’s when Dobson landed his fight-high 19 punches in the fifth round.

Indeed, Dobson caught Benn with the random looping overhand. There just weren’t enough of them to convince the judges, or to hurt Benn, who alternately picked Dobson apart and connected one-timers to the dome.

Early on, Benn forced the action, cornering Dobson and unloading on the ropes. The combinations scored points. He outlanded Dobson 87-35 through the first four rounds but did not seem to hurt him.

By the end of the fourth round, Dobson started finding success, as well as Benn’s head, with looping and straight rights as he stalked his opponent.

By the seventh round, though, it was back to a boxing clinic by Benn, who unleashed scoring flurries with aplomb through the end of the fight.

To his credit, Dobson landed that occasional big shot out of a clinch to elicit excitement from the crowd, but the punches were not as pointed as his news conference jab at Benn.

“You’re too proper,” Dobson told him. “You can’t even trash talk.”

And while it was Dobson’s first fight since June 11, 2022, it was only Benn’s second bout since April 16, 2022, due to his suspension by UK Anti-Doping for twice testing positive for a banned substance. Both of his most recent fights have been in the United States.

Neither have resulted in a stoppage.

Benn, from Essex, England, and the son of former two-division world champion Nigel Benn, previously won a 10-round unanimous decision over Rodolfo Orozco in Orlando, Florida, on Sept. 23.

“People would always be skeptical, irrelevant of whatever outcome,” Benn said. “I’ve been cleared twice, no doubt I’ll be cleared again. Then people still be skeptical…and that’s completely fine. It’s something I have to accept and as much as it breaks my heart, it’s unfortunate and that’s just one thing that I’ve got to deal with now.”

After the fight, super lightweight champion Devin Haney replied to a social media post wondering where Benn’s power had gone writing, “Left that s— [in] the needle.”

Benn was asked about the post.

“What the f—‘s he talking about? He’s knocked no one out in his last 15 fights. What’s he talking about, power? He’s never had power. Oh, my DNA is strong. Don’t worry about that. I’m fresh out my dad. So when you want to talk about power, he’s just jealous because he’s never had none. If he wants to come find that about the power, I’m more than happy to show him.”

Haney’s father Bill Haney attended the post-fight presser.

“I heard somebody’s looking for us,” he said, before congratulating Benn. “All respect to you and your family. You guys are legends in the sport and, of course, it will be an honor and a pleasure if that time presents itself.”

Benn, though, initially said he preferred to face WBC interim welterweight champion Mario Barrios next.

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