Conor Benn doesn’t plan on chasing paydays at the expense of stymieing his momentum.
The rising British welterweight is scheduled to face veteran Chris van Heerden this Saturday at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, on DAZN.
Prior to finalizing van Heerden as an opponent, Benn had expressed interest in facing countryman Kell Brook after Brook scored a legacy-defining fight sixth-round stoppage over rival Amir Khan in February. But serious talks never took place for what would be a lucrative fight. Benn, who has garnered significant attention in recent years, made it clear he is not about to fiddle with his thumbs waiting for “big showdowns” to land in his lap.
“Money ain’t my motive,” Benn told BBC 5Live Boxing. “The Kell Brook fight, they were already in negotiations [with other parties]. Could I have waited for the Kell Brook fight and had a big payout, massive payday, and looked good, big showdown? Or do I keep my head focused on April 16?
“I ain’t interested in nothing else. The money will come. I’m about legacy.”
Benn, the son of celebrated British boxing icon Nigel Benn, had a coming out party of sorts last year, when he showed his class against durable contenders Adrien Granados and Chris Algieri, as well as Samuel Vargas. Against Algieri, Benn scored one of the year’s most impressive one-punch knockouts, a bloodcurdling right hand that folded the Long Island native on the ropes.
Benn (20-0, 13 KOs) had previously been criticized for the choice of van Heerden (28-2-1, 12 KOs) because his promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, mentioned the likes of Adrien Broner, Maurice Hooker, and Robert Guerrero, as possibilities for Benn. But the Broner fight was never realistic, given where the embattled fighter is at the moment in his career, and Hooker had originally accepted an offer to face Benn, but the Texan ended up suffering an injury that waylaid his participation.
“I’m about building, I’m about momentum,” Benn said. “I ain’t gonna waste time and wait around for nobody. That’s where the money for me ain’t – don’t get me wrong, it’s a massive factor, I'm not a charity fighter – but the progression of my career and me fighting and [building] that legacy is more important to me.”