By Craig Daly: Manny Pacquiao and Conor Benn are in discussions for a fight on June 3 in Abu Dhabi. The superstar Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39 KOs) is poised to come out of his two-year retirement to potentially face the popular British welterweight Benn (21-0, 14 KOs) in his first fight back.
The 44-year-old Pacquiao hasn’t fought in two years since his narrow loss to Yordenis Ugas in August 2021, and he’s ready to resume his career following an unsuccessful run for the presidency of the Philippines.
Mike Coppinger of ESPN was told by Sean Gibbons of MP Promotions about the negotiations between Pacquiao and Conor Benn. Gibbons says Pacquiao is interested in the fight, and it’s up to Benn’s promoter Eddie Hearn whether they’re ready to go in that direction.
“Pacquiao is engaged in talks for a welterweight fight against U.K. star Conor Benn. That fight is being eyed for June 3 in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E,” said Mike Coppinger to ESPN.
“He retired for a minute to run for President of the Philippines, where he took a respectful third place,” said Sean Gibbons. “After that, he felt that his retirement was due to running for president.
“This fight [Benn] was presented to him by Eddie Hearn, and he agreed. The ball is in Eddie Hearn’s court. Pacquiao ready to go.”
The main problem with the 26-year-old Benn fighting Pacquiao is the huge disparity in experience between them. Benn has faced no one even close to being as talented as Pacquiao during his career.
It would be a crime for the fledgling prospect Benn to be thrown in with a fighter like Pacquiao because he’s not ready for that level of a fighter.
Conor has been handled with kid gloves by Hearn, who has made sure that he’s put him in with old guys that were never great talents, even when they were young.
If you put Benn in with Pacquiao, the outcome would be obvious. Benn would get decimated if he can’t score a quick knockout.
Benn’s best opponents to date are these guys: Chris Algieri, Sebastian Formella, Adrian Granados, Samuel Vargas, and Chris Van Heerden.
Benn also has two other options in the recently knocked out Chris Eubank Jr and retired former welterweight champion Kell Brook. It’s unclear whether those fights would rival a match against Pacquiao.
Brook is still popular with older boxing fans that remember when he was briefly at the height of his fame from 2014 to 2016, but that was a long time ago, and he’s largely been forgotten.
As for Chris Eubank Jr, he was knocked out recently by fringe junior middleweight contender Liam Smith. That loss for Eubank Jr could tarnish a fight with Benn.
“We are in the process of selecting Conor Benn’s next opponent and have been in active talks with Manny Pacquiao’s team,” Hearn told ESPN.