Conor Benn does not begrudge Keith Thurman for not necessarily jumping at the chance to swap punches in the ring together.
The rising welterweight contender from Essex, England, conceded that the risk-reward calculus as it pertains to himself does not make sense for a proven, former champion like Thurman. The native of Clearwater, Florida, has long been mentioned by Benn and his promoter Eddie Hearn as a top opponent but Thurman himself has rarely ever mentioned the Brit.
Thurman is also aligned with Al Haymon of Premier Boxing Champions, which rarely does business with Hearn’s Matchroom, so it is not clear if substantial talks ever got underway.
In any case, Benn said recently that he is aware that the value proposition he brings to the table may not entice someone of Thurman’s stature. Thurman recently told BoxingScene.com that he does not intend to be a gatekeeper for up-and-coming fighters.
The hard-hitting Benn is reportedly in serious negotiations to face countryman, the middleweight Chris Eubank, in an all British super fight at a catchweight on Oct. 8 at the O2 Arena in London.
“I believe Thurman gets filled in,” Benn said in an Instagram Live session with his fans. “There’s a reason why he’s biting to nothing. And, you know, you can’t really blame him to be honest. Thurman’s like—he may as well retire.
“He says he’s not fighting no crop coming through, but yeah, he wants the big names. Obviously, listen, I’m probably someone that’s one of the biggest names in the welterweight division. Definitely a frontrunner, anyways. The fact that he don’t want to take that fight surprises me a little bit. But I’m obviously—the risk-reward with me, he don’t see it right.”
Benn (21-0, 14 KOs) has been hankering after a big name opponent for the past year after pummeling through a slew of over-the-hill veterans in his past four fights. He has mentioned fighters such as Jose Ramirez, Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia, and Yordenis Ugas, but none of those fights ever seemed close to being made. Hearn said earlier this summer that he offered Ramirez and his promotional team at Top Rank a handsome deal to face Benn, but nothing came of that effort either.
Benn, however, made it clear that rejections should not be construed as anything less than pure business decisions.
“Listen, anyone can get it,” Benn said. “When people make you out like you’re scared and all that—you don’t need me shouting from the rooftops Jose Ramirez is scared, turned down a million dollars so he’s scared—Keith Thurman is scared, Ugas scared.
“They’re not scared. None of them are scared, man, know what I mean? People who go yeah he’s scared, it’s just to sell the fight. Like all them other plumbs who call me out, who go ‘yeah, he’s scared of me.’ Talkin’ rubbish.”
As for the Eubank fight, Benn sounded a note of confidence.
“The fight’s going to be announced at this rate, mate,” he said.