By Barry Holbrook: Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn says he wants to put a fight together next between former welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman and his young star Conor Benn for a mega-fight in the UK.
Hearn says he has the “money‘ to make Thurman-Benn fight, and he’s working on trying to get it done.
It might require a significant amount of money for Hearn to lesson the former WBA/WBC welterweight champion Thurman (30-1, 22 KO to agree to face unbeaten, highly ranked #4 WBA, #4 WBO, #5 IBF & #5 WBC Benn.
Thurman, 33, has been waiting for the smoke to clear from the undisputed welterweight championship between Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford.
However, those two have been slow in setting up their fight, and Thurman isn’t happy having to wait for a shot Spence vs. Crawford winner or a chance to battle for the belts after they’re vacated.
Fighting Benn arguably gives Thurman a chance for his biggest payday until he battles for one of the world titles.
Other than Benn, there aren’t any options for big-money fights for Thurman at 147 because he might not be given a title shot against the winner of the Spence-Crawford battle, particularly if it’s Spence that emerges as the winner. Spence wants nothing to do with Thurman because
“We want the Keith Thurman fight. I had a million questions here today about Conor Benn against Chris Eubank Jr. We’re not in final negotiations about that fight,” said Eddie Hearn to Pro Boxing Fans about Conor Benn’s next fight.
“It’s a fight that always gets brought up because it’s one of the biggest fights of all time. Right now, we’re focused on the welterweight division [for Benn], and hopefully, that’ll be Keith Thurman,” said Hearn.
Former IBO super-middleweight champion Chris Eubank Jr. would be an excellent fight for Benn for the UK, but it’s too big of a puncher for him to be taking that level of opponent. Thurman can punch too, but he doesn’t possess the type of power that Eubank Jr does.
If Benn can beat Thurman, he’ll have a good chance of grabbing one of the welterweight titles once the Spence vs. Crawford winner vacates them. Those two are both planning on moving up to 154 in 2023, so the belts at 147 will be fragmented soon after they battle this year.
As long as Hearn keeps Benn away from Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis, he’s got an excellent chance of winning a title at 147 and holding onto it for a while. Boots is arguably too talented for Benn to mess with at this stage of his career, even though he’s older than the American.
“He’s a big star, Conor Benn. We’ve got the money to make sure that we do that, so we’ll see what happens,” said Hearn.
Thurman is coming off of an impressive 12-round unanimous decision win over Mario Barrios last February. Before that fight, Thurman had been out of the ring for over two years since his loss to Manny Pacquiao in 2019.