Conor Benn returns to the ring Saturday in Liverpool, England, to put his undefeated record on the line against former 140 lb titleholder Chris Algieri in a DAZN main event.
Benn (19-0, 12 KO) has home field and career momentum in his favor, as the 25-year-old second generation fighter seems to be putting together a run and heading toward more serious contention at 147 lbs.
Algieri (25-3, 9 KO) has been sort of a part-time fighter since his 2016 loss to Errol Spence Jr, but has stayed in great shape and at 37, still looked pretty much like his old self back in August when he fought for the first time in 26 months.
Does Benn keep it rolling into 2022, or can Algieri score a late-career upset?
Scott Christ (60-22)
I like Benn, I don’t regard him quite on the level of Jaron Ennis or Vergil Ortiz, but I like him as a prospect/emerging contender at 147, a division that badly needs some fresh faces to come along and spice things up.
I also like Algieri as a fighter, he’s tough and smart and fights well up to a certain level, and maybe Benn is or isn’t at that level, or at least close enough to it now that Chris is a little older. A big thing for me is that Algieri has never truly been a welterweight, never really looked near as comfortable over 140 as he does at 140. I think it’s about 50/50 that Benn tries to come out fast and bomb on Algieri quickly, because that idea might work, but also might play exactly into what gives Algieri a chance here, which is his endurance and craftiness.
I think we’ll get a solid first six rounds or so, and then Benn’s youth, superior power, and better natural physical gifts will take over. Algieri’s only been stopped by Errol Spence Jr — though heaven knows referee Genaro Rodriguez could have called off the Pacquiao fight in 2014, and who doesn’t love scoring a fight 120-102? — but I think Benn might ask questions of Chris as this fight goes on that the veteran doesn’t really want to answer anymore, and there’s also a chance the referee could just step in when Algieri feels he’s fine to continue under pressure. Benn TKO-9
Wil Esco (66-16)
Chris Algieri once had a little run for himself which led him to the world stage. but once he got there he was largely exposed as being a decent fighter but one who just wasn’t truly cut out to contend at the top level. Since getting leveled by Errol Spence a few years ago Algieri has taken a good bit of time away from fighting but has now managed to win a few lower tiered fights which brings him to this opportunity against Conor Benn.
Now I’m not certain that Benn is the sort of world-level talent that Algieri has struggled against in the past, so for me this is more of a measuring stick for Benn than Algieri. If Benn is to live up to his billing this should be a fight that he wins rather convincingly, and if he loses it’ll be a huge reality check for his prospects moving forward. I’ve never been high on Algieri as a fighter, he’s past his prime, and I think Benn has started coming into his own — at least enough to win this fight. Benn UD-12
Patrick L. Stumberg (67-15)
While he’s exponentially superior to the overeager, underpowered semi-prospect he once was, Benn still has a long way to go before he can join the likes of Jaron Ennis and Vergil Ortiz Jr in the welterweight division’s big boy contender club. He still puts way too much behind his power punches to too-little effect and isn’t the most adept ring cutter in the world, which allowed what looked like a semi-comatose Adrian Granados to have brief bouts of success. He’s going to struggle with either a solid mover or a genuine hitter.
Luckily for him, Algieri’s neither. The man’s always eager for a scrap, and though he’s made up for his lack of pop with grit and volume in the past, Benn’s shown the gas tank to go 10 hard rounds. Even if he wasn’t the local favorite, his punches are significantly more eye-catching than Algieri’s, which figures to carry him to a decision in a fun tussle. Benn UD-12