Jose Ramirez’s high financial requirements were the key stumbling block to a proposed fight with British welterweight Conor Benn, according to the former 140-pound champion.
Ramirez, who held two junior welterweight titles before losing them to Scotland's Josh Taylor last year, said he had initial discussions with Benn’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing about fighting Benn in the summer but once the topic of purses came up the talks promptly ended. Ramirez, of Avenal, California, said Heard was “shocked” to discover what Ramirez’s baseline fight purses are with his longtime promoter Top Rank.
“We were thinking of doing [the fight] at 140 or 147 or a catchweight just to see myself moving into that 147-pound division,” Ramirez told Pro Boxing Fans. “But it was a quick talk with Eddie Hearn. He said at the moment that Conor Benn wasn’t making what we thought he was making as far as financials. Eddie Hearn, with respect to the fact that … my minimums with Top Rank are so high ... he was shocked to find out how much I was making with my minimums with Top Rank.”
A Ramirez-Benn fight would have required Hearn to pay Ramirez a considerable fee, since Ramirez fights exclusively on ESPN, the network that has an exclusive boxing content deal with Top Rank. While Hearn, a rival of Top Rank, was unable to consummate a deal, he has had success in the past in a similar scenario. In 2019, Ramirez fought Hearn’s then charge Maurice Hooker in a 140-pound title unification fight on a Matchroom card that streamed on DAZN, the streaming platform with which Hearn has an extensive partnership. Hearn/DAZN reportedly paid Ramirez more than $4 million for the opportunity.
For his part, Ramirez said he is still open to the idea of fighting the hard-punching Benn but it would not be for another two years. The longtime 140-pound contender expects to stay in his weight class, citing the bevy of alluring competition, which includes Taylor, Regis Prograis, Jose Zepeda, and Teofimo Lopez.
Benn is currently projected to fight middleweight Chris Eubank Jr. in a 157-pound catchweight fight Oct. 8 at The O2 in London.
“It’s a fight we probably make in the future, you know,” Ramirez said. “Conor Benn has made a name for himself now. You hear more and more about him now. He’s doing his own thing out there in the UK. It was just a quick talk that was presented to me. Once we got to the numbers, after the first talk and the numbers came in it just didn’t work out for either of us.
“I think in the near future, maybe two years, when I’m ready to make that 147 jump, that's a great fight to make.”