Fighting Manny Pacquiao will prove nothing for Conor Benn – and it’s a fight he could easily lose

Talks have taken place for the fight to happen this summer (Picture: Getty)

In his latest column, former Olympian and heavyweight contender Frazer Clarke explains why Conor Benn vs Manny Pacquiao could be all wrong for both fighters.

Benn vs Pacquiao would be a difficult watch

Conor Benn looks to be closing in on a return and it could be boxing legend Manny Pacquiao who joins him in the ring this summer.

Of course, it’s a massively high-profile fight, there is no doubting that. But it’s a very dangerous one for a couple of reasons. Conor is in a position where he needs to rebuild and that Pacquiao name attracts worldwide attention. It goes without saying Conor needs to return with a bang.

For my money, even if Manny is still half as good as he used to be, he’ll beat Conor. But that’s just one side of the coin. Manny is 44 and has been retired for two years. In his final fight against Yordenis Ugas he was well beaten and it was clear that was the time to call it a day. If he is indeed well past it and gets beat, it would be a very sad, difficult watch.

This is no disrespect to Conor but losing to someone who is still a relative novice in terms of those high-level super fights would be tough to see.

I remember watching Marco Antonio Barrera losing to Amir Khan in 2009. Khan was obviously coming up and we were loving it but at the same time, it was so sad to watch, because Barrera was such a legend. We’ve seen this happen countless times before, fighters come back, they are not the same and it is a real painful experience for everyone.

Pacquiao suffered an an unanimous decision defeat to Ugas in August 2021 (Picture: Getty)

I would hate to see the great man go down that route, I would hate to see him come back and possibly tarnish that unbelievable reputation because he was the best fighter on the planet.

Not the fight Benn needs

My other concern would be, it would beg the question whether this is a real fight. It doesn’t really interest me if I’m honest. At 44 and having retired from the sport already, I would much prefer to see Manny have an open sparring session than an actual fight.

This could easily fall into the category of this being a bit of an exhibition, a hoax fight. If Conor wants to be a world champion he has to fight people that are actually active and that are around that level and showing ambition like him. You can argue this won’t progress his career.

Fighting someone coming back after two years off at the age of 44, it’s very different. If he was a prospect and fighting someone older, a bit more experienced, you can make the argument it’s something he needs, good for getting the rounds in.

Benn looking to return with a bang this summer (Picture: Getty)

But the level Conor is at, does it do anything for him? The other side of the coin is even worse. Even if Manny is at 50 per cent of his powers, he beats him and that would be a devastating setback.

But it would be tough watching Manny if he isn’t there anymore. With so many boxing legends, they are well respected. Pacquiao is loved. Even in the UK, for many fight fans he gave us some of the best nights ever.

I would hate to see someone who has not got those credentials beat up someone who gave me so many memories. And that is no disrespect to Conor at all. It would be similar to Khan vs Barrera. Ricky Hatton had his comeback in 2012 and lost to Vyacheslav Senchenko in Manchester. It was heart-breaking to watch. We are talking about people’s heroes here.  

No one can stop ‘Pac Man’ if he wants to return

But the way the world has gone now with the money in the sport, the lure is almost too much. I’m sure Manny isn’t short of a few quid but when you break it down, there is no other way for these men to earn that type of money other than in a fight.

The lure of that one-off payment to do something that you do so naturally must be really hard to resist and I can totally understand it. In boxing, you are your own boss and at the end of the day, you call the shots.

If you say you are willing to fight, who anyone else to say you can’t or shouldn’t? It is a really difficult place to be.

Pacquiao remains one of boxing’s most beloved fighters (Picture: Getty)

Benn’s reputation still in major trouble

Conor remains in very difficult situation. He just needs this to go away. Once you are tarnished with this and you are that high profile, it’s hard to get rid of the label.

The shape Conor was in ahead of the Chris Eubank Jr fight was quite phenomenal. Plenty of fighters have been able to come back when things have been mapped out right for them. You have one or two good performances and unfortunately it is all forgotten about.

I feel with Conor, with the profile he has got and given who his old man is, I think he gets more stick than the other fighter.

At the end of the day, I have no time for a cheat but whether he is proven right or wrong in this, I don’t wish no bad on him. If he is found guilty he should be punished in a sporting sense.

But take away Conor’s name and what is going on around him, he is a 26-year-old man with a young family. Some of the things said to be him on social media have been disgusting. There is no place for it in the world, whether he has done right or wrong in boxing.

MORE : Eddie Hearn: Conor Benn wants to sue the British Boxing Board of Control and never speak to them again

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