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Manny Pacquiao vs. Conor Benn Again Being Explored

Manny Pacquiao vs. Conor Benn Again Being Explored featured image
Manny Pacquiao may be returning to the ring as a professional as talks with Conor Benn have been confirmed to be taking place. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

In a year where there have already been a couple of fights that no one asked for but will likely still see, Manny Pacquiao and Conor Benn have emerged as candidates for another unlikely bout. The two fighters were spotted together at yesterday’s weigh-in of the Joshua-Ngannou event in an interaction that was first thought to be merely casual―though a face-off between the two did occur, only for it to be later revealed later by Matchroom chairman Eddie Hearn that talks between the two combatants’ teams were legitimately occurring.

Negotiations between retired Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39 KO’s) and British heel Conor Benn (23-0, 14 KO’s) first commenced last year with feelers being put out for a Summer bout in various countries the UK, but talks came to an abrupt halt when Benn was waiting on the WBC to be ‘cleared’ to fight following his controversial drug test debacle―despite the WBC having no authority to clear any fighter for steroid/PED use.

Later on, Manny Pacquiao’s advisor Sean Gibbons―president of Philippines-based promotion MP Promotions which is owned by Pacquiao himself―acknowledged the ongoing negotiations but cited Benn’s “situation” that he had to “clear up” as a barrier to the negotiations reaching a viable conclusion.

While the WBC eventually did ‘clear’ Benn, Benn eventually went on to return to fight in the United States at super welterweight/junior middleweight, all while a fight with Chris Eubank Jr (33-3, 24 KO’s) seemed to be in the works for the backend of 2023. However, a fight with Eubank also failed to emerge as, again, Benn’s drug test woes prevented the fight from taking place in the UK.

Now, with Benn presumably now cleared to fight in the UK―given the joint appeal by the BBBofC and UKAD that was set to occur last month did not result in Conor Benn being suspended, the Pacquiao fight has been revisited as Benn’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, himself confirmed.

We are talking, and we’re close to that fight, but we have to see,Hearn told Mail Sport Boxing [the Daily Mail] yesterday.

Obviously, it’s a fight that we’d love to bring to Wembley Stadium. Pacquiao’s first fight in the UK would be incredible. Out here [in Saudi Arabia] potentially as well; we’d have to see how their schedule fits, but Manny Pacquiao is a legend.

People talk about his [Pacquiao’s] inactivity―yeah, of course, he’s not the fighter that he was, but he would beat everyone of Conor Benn’s opponent so far in his career, and I think he’ll even be a 50-50 fight, maybe a slight favorite to beat Conor Benn.

I like the fight. It’s really come out [of] the blue. It wasn’t something we were focusing on, but if it comes around we’re up for it.

While there would be an outcry given the discrepancy in age with Conor Benn being 27 years of age as opposed to Pacquiao’s 45 years, the fight would still be more of a plausible bout than Jake Paul’s (8-1, 6 KO’s) recently-announced exhibition bout against the 57-year old Mike Tyson (50-6, 44 KO’s)―with Pacquiao notoriously having remained quite active following his retirement from boxing in 2021, and having most recently participated in an exhibition bout in 2022, and set to continue on with another bout this year on April 20th.