Benn: I’m Not Going To Turn Down An Offer To Fight Legend Pacquiao

Conor Benn says if he has to go through Manny Pacquiao on his way to a world title, then that is what he will do.

Benn and the Filipino icon went head-to-head in Saudi Arabia last week, and news of a summer fight between the two quickly spread. 

Benn, whose last two fights have been in the USA following two positive VADA tests ahead of his proposed 2022 bout with Chris Eubank Jr, still strenuously denies any wrongdoing, but he could be headed for a fight against Pacquiao in the Middle East. 

“That’s what I was there for, really,” he said, of a whirlwind 72hours in Saudi Arabia.

“I knew he [Pacquiao] was going to be there. 

“Right now, that’s looking like the one that we’re focusing on.”

Benn has talked about wanting to be in the title picture and has called out the biggest names at welterweight. After he defeated Peter Dobson in Las Vegas last month, plenty called him out, too, but Pacquiao  seems a possibility for May or June in Saudi Arabia, and Benn is happy to engage the future Hall of Famer. 

“Yeah, obviously, when we did the face off, it’s like looking into a legend’s eyes,” Benn said. “It was sort of surreal.”

Benn wants the big names at 147lbs, but there is a commercial magnetism for his name to be linked with others away from the upper echelons of the relevant divisions, from Kell Brook, to Eubank Jr and increasingly to the 45-year-old Pacquiao. What does the 27-year-old Benn, 23-0 (14 KOs), say to those saying he should be fighting the major players at welterweight?

“I say to that, he [Pacquiao] wants to fight me,” he said. “He’s mentioned my name, his manager [Sean Gibbons], but also it’s not like I haven’t chased the 147s. How many times have I got to mention the 147 names? 

“And there’s videos out there saying that they don’t want the fight, that I’m not a big enough name, or I’m not ranked or whatever – [Derek] ‘Bozy’ Ennis was saying… so what do you want me to do? We called for [Mario] Barrios, we called for [Yordenis] Ugas, we called for [Keith] Thurman… So it’s like, what do you want me to do? If a legend wants to share the ring with me, it would be my honor.”

Pacquiao has not fought since losing to Yordenis Ugas in 2021, on points over 12 rounds. In his three previous bouts, he’d defeated Lucas Matthysse (2018), and, in 2019, Adrien Broner and Thurman. He is 62-8-2 (39 KOs) in his 72-fight career.

“But also, he’s old until he’s not old,” Benn added. “People will always have something to say. People had something to say when I went up to 160 [for Eubank]. People always have something to say. He fought Ugas two years ago, but I’m not going to turn down the offer to fight a legend if the offer is out to me. It would make no sense.”