The Beltline. Conor Benn’s return could be more unpleasant with the choice of catch

Middleweight contender Conor Benn, in a misguided effort to endear himself to fans seemingly out of confidence and sympathy, has targeted two men he believes people want to watch him beat this summer for nothing but money. that he can work on the process (very ) and not the message he sends (poor).

The first of these men, and apparently the leader, is Manny Pacquiao. He is now 44 years old and was last seen in August 2021 losing a 12 round decision to Yordenis Ugas. Pacquiao, who started his career in 1995 at 106 pounds, appeared on video after the punishing defeat. fed by his wife, Jinky, in their hotel room, with a disfigured face and Father Time waiting outside.

Ben’s other option, meanwhile, is Kell Brook, a fellow Brit who stopped long-time rival Amir Khan in six rounds last February. It was supposed to be the 36-year-old’s last ring appearance and possibly the best record he could have gone on, but the Sheffield man, like many, has been tempted by a comeback in recent weeks and caught on video. Hitting a heavy bag at the boxing gym the other day. That video, while divisive, was significantly better than Brooke’s other video that leaked Sun newspaper not too long ago (which highlighted the extent of his retirement issues), but it’s still hard to argue that a return to boxing will somehow exorcise all his demons.

Kell Brook

Kell Brook (Mark Robinson)

Indeed, with both Pacquiao and Brook, you can’t help but feel that a certain vulnerability is being exploited by whoever chooses to fight them in 2023. In Pacquao’s case, you shamelessly use his name and his star power. and what’s more, his inability to say no when offered the kind of salary he expected will hit his bank account on a yearly basis. With Brooke, on the other hand, her psychological vulnerability is more overt and more widely known. He also carries some star power, though not some of Pacquiao’s, but regardless, marketability should never replace a fighter’s ability to take care of himself and the fact that there will always be life after boxing. the adversary they must one day face.

If a return to sports is what Brooke wants, and something she feels she needs, so be it. It’s his career, it’s his brain, and it’s his life. However, if a return to boxing is only being discussed because Brook has his eye on Conor Benn and the kind of money that could attract a freak show fight, it would be a shame if no one around Brook thought to take him aside and explain it to him. why circuses sometimes don’t promote great mental health.

Likewise, there is a sense that Pacquiao needs to be protected from himself. He will be less aware of the frenzy surrounding Ben, one suspects, but no less fascinated by the numbers appearing in the Middle East fight contract (talks with Abu Dhabi on June 3). And let’s not lie. after all, nine times out of ten, money trumps damage.

Manny Pacquiao

Ugas outboxes Pacquiao (Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

As for Ben, he is perhaps the biggest and ugliest problem here. In the end, while Pacquiao and Brook, for all their faults, are free from both fighting and Ben-level controversy, Ben chooses to persevere in his career despite an ongoing problem with performance-enhancing drugs.

That said, whether he’s released to fight (outside the UK) or not, the optics, which Ben’s promoter Eddie Hearn detailed in a press conference in December, aren’t great here. Sensitive, of course, to the fact that he needs to do something with his life and try to continue his career, however, Benny seems like a slap in the face to almost everyone in the sport. East, as if nothing happened in the first place. even worse, fighting against people whose damage is far greater than mere reputation.

Still, in the eyes of those who have seen it before, this was the fear from the start. The time. Its passage. The longer it went by, of course, the more the grip loosened, and the easier it became for the once strangled man to wriggle free.

That this happened is a failure of the sport as opposed to just one person, and Ben, who suffered the most, should not be blamed for wanting to fight again and simply operating within the rules already established. He’s not doing anything wrong, in theory, by planning a fight in the Middle East in June. He’s not doing anything wrong by going after old men like Pacquiao and Brook in an attempt to essentially wash away his problems.

In fact, it is only morally possible to accuse Ben and his team of negligence. Only in that context—morality, principles, doing what feels right—can you see this move as sinister or arrogant or just a deafening voice.

However, if you’ve been expecting those involved to suddenly see the light of day in the six months since Ben and Chris Eubank Jr.’s fight was canceled, you probably deserve the shock you felt when you discovered you were superior. . Because this latest action plan is, if nothing else, remarkably consistent. It’s consistent with the characters involved and follows the path of the many boxers who, intentionally or not, have come into contact with the performance-enhancing drug and relied on both the jury’s short memories and the judge’s incompetence. to finally free them.

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