Conor Benn produced a huge right hand to knock Chris Algieri cold in the fourth round in Liverpool to continue his impressive march to the top of the welterweight division.
Once Benn was written off as a fun fighter, but no one says that now. Algieri, the former WBO super-lightweight champion, followed impressive wins over Sebastian Formella, Samuel Vargas and Adrian Granados, all of whom were expected to test him.
“They’re not tests,” Benn said. “And every time I say they are not tests, it sounds like arrogance but it is just confidence.
“When I say I am top five, I am top five for a reason. No one did that to Algieri. What more do I have to do? I’m a top world-level athlete. You don’t get the rankings I have got for nothing.
“I didn’t expect nothing else. I work extremely hard and I knew the knockout was coming. If they want to stand there and have a fight, that’s what happens.
“I hope the Yanks now know that I am the best fighter in Britain, No 1, and No 2, I’m coming for them.”
Now Eddie Hearn is talking up a fight with Adrien Broner, while Benn says he wants to meet the winner of the February 19 fight between Amir Khan and Kell Brook, having been offended by the pair saying they were the best two in Britain.
“I didn’t call out Brook because we are pals, but business is business and if you know who the winner of that is, I’ll have them,” Benn said. “And if they don’t want it, we’ll have Broner in America and if he doesn’t want it I fancy my chances against [Yordenis] Ugas [the WBA champion].”
Algieri was seen as an opponent with the knowledge and enough ambition to cause Benn problems. But after softening Algieri up in the early rounds by attacking the body, Benn took him out in brutal fashion in the fourth round.
Benn started on the front foot and seemed to hurt Algieri with a body shot early on and, while Algieri landed well with a left hook of his own, Benn was picking his punches well.
The body attack continued in the second round, although as Algieri jumped into an exchange he ended up on the floor himself.
Benn’s punch appeared to land behind the head and caught Algieri off balance, sending the American head over heels in a dramatic roll that almost took him out of the ring. Referee Bob Williams counted it as a knockdown, much to Algieri’s annoyance.
There was no more feeling out in round three, as Benn started to throw more power shots and a left hook seemed to stiffen Algieri’s legs. But the more Benn threw, the more Algieri moved backwards towards the ropes, which would lead to his downfall.
Benn waited his time and struck at the end of the fourth, landing a huge right hand straight down the middle that made Algieri fall down the ropes and onto his face. To Benn’s immense credit, he did not take the opportunity to land another punch as Algieri fell in slow motion at his feet. Referee Williams counted him out at 2:58.
“This was a fight where Conor made his own path,” said Nigel Benn, Conor’s father and legendary former middleweight and super-middleweight world champion. “He’s not in my shadow no more. I knew he was capable of this. He is going all the way.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.