Hearn: Tank vs. Benn Not Really a Fight That I Anticipated – But I Think It’s a Fight That Can Happen

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It usually takes an eye-catching breakout performance or a spectacular knockout to catapult an unproven fighter into contention for a fight with one of the sport’s biggest names.

As we are constantly reminded however, boxing is a business and money can always create exceptions to the rule.

Smelling blood in the water after Conor Benn’s tougher than expected decision victory over ‘Pistol’ Pete Dobson on February 3rd, some of boxing’s apex predators began circling the unbeaten welterweight. Attracted by the scent of seemingly straight forward and lucrative night’s work. 

So far, only Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis has shown any real interest in the bait on offer and Benn’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, is doing his best to hook him. 

“We’ve made Tank an offer. It’s a big offer and there’s a lot of upside on pay-per-view and gate that I think he needs to explore as well,” Hearn told IFL.

“It’s not really a fight that I anticipated but I think it’s a fight that can happen and I think if we can just be sensible and sit down and talk through numbers, I think there’s enough money in the pot to keep everybody happy.”

On the face of it, the fight makes little sense but there are definite reasons why it would appeal to both boxers.

Davis needs to fight. The WBA lightweight champion hasn’t been seen since knocking out Ryan Garcia in seven rounds last April. Davis has grown accustomed to large paydays and big events and there appears little chance of him fighting any of the top 135lb fighters in the world any time soon. A fight with Benn may just provide him with the attention and financial reward he craves. 

Benn also seems desperate to bypass a few levels of competition and jump in straight with a world class operator. From the Londoner’s point of view, of all the names who have entered his orbit recently, the Baltimore man is the most explosive and eye catching but – maybe most importantly – he is also by far the smallest.

Devin Haney certainly didn’t look like a small super lightweight when he stepped up to 140lbs and relieved Regis Prograis of his WBC title last December. If anything, the former undisputed lightweight champion looked like he will soon be a natural welterweight. Haney has agreed to fight Ryan Garcia on April 20th in any case. 

Kell Brook would certainly be open to a lucrative offer but the retired former welterweight champion struggled badly to make 147lbs towards the end of his career and seems more suited to the middleweight division these days. The same could be said of Errol Spence Jnr. The former unified welterweight champion looked a shadow of himself during his undisputed 147lb clash with Terence Crawford and if he does continue to fight after his recent eye operation, he would be wise to do so at 154lbs or above

Chris Eubank Jnr will always remain an option and although he may lack the all round ability of the above names he does remain a world class fighter at 160lbs or above.

Benn apparently rehydrated to 170lbs before his fight with Dobson and if he is determined to take a monumental gamble, it makes sense to target a fighter that he would at least hold a size advantage over. Davis did stop Mario Barrios at 140lbs to win the WBA title – Barrios is another fighter Benn has mentioned – but is much more at home at 135lbs.

Last July, the National Anti-Doping agency issued a ruling that lifted Benn’s suspension after he returned two positive tests ahead of his fight with Eubank Jnr, scheduled for October 2022. The British Boxing Board of Control and UKAD appealed that decision. That appeal should finally should be heard this month and if Benn is given the green light to resume his career on these shores, the income generated by a return to a British arena or stadium would open up plenty of possibilities. 

“Conor loves the fight. He’s been on at me nonstop since he’s been at him on social media asking me to make the fight and we’ll see where we get to this week,” Hearn said.

“He’s gonna be in a massive fight next. We’ve got the case coming up in a couple of weeks and once that’s dealt with, that’ll allow us to see much more clearly in terms of where he’s gonna fight and who he’s gonna fight. Conor has to be in a massive fight next and Tank is one of the biggest fights in the world. 

“Every fight involving Conor Benn is a big one and it has to be a name next.”

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