Former two division world champion Paulie Malignaggi does not believe Conor Benn should fight until his drug testing scandal has been fully resolved.
The unbeaten welterweight is scheduled to see action on Saturday night as part of a Matchroom card in Orlando, Florida.
Benn, in active since April 2022, was all set to collide with middleweight Chris Eubank Jr. last October. The event was canceled during fight week, when it was revealed that Benn had tested positive for a banned substance.
The British boxer was provisionally suspended in April, but then a few months later he was cleared to box by the National Anti-Doping panel. However, the British Boxing Board of Control and the UK Anti-Doping have appealed that decision.
Malignaggi would have liked to see Benn overcome his legal tussle with the BBBofC and UKAD - and then return to the ring.
“The conscientious part of me wants to say that Benn shouldn't be in the ring until this whole thing is over. Of course, keeping in mind that money always buys you out of problems in this life, so he'll probably end up being okay regardless - they'll probably make it go away or say he was not guilty. But still, I think, just for the sake of doing things right, you shouldn't be fighting until you finish the entire investigation and have a decree and have a decision made," Malignaggi said to Casino Alpha.
“But then the other side of me, the realist side of me, the part of me that is in tune with reality - even if it's an uncomfortable reality - is probably like 'does it matter?.' Everybody he's going to have to face on the way up to get to a world championship is probably doping anyway, so does it really matter?
“These guys probably end up having to dope because they're going to be facing guys as they move up the ladder who are also doping, so therefore are you putting your life at risk if you don't dope against a doped up fighter? And then you go down that rabbit hole, so it's one of those things where, if you know too much like somebody on the inside like myself, then it's almost like you want to wash your hands and leave the whole business.
“I think the people at the very top know how big of a problem doping is, but they don't care because athletes that are doped up break more records, accomplish more, and therefore they become worth more, and then, therefore, their handlers make more money, so I wouldn't say that at the very top this is an ignorant thing like they don't know what's going on.
“Boxing has probably the weakest of all the drug testing protocols and I'm starting to wonder if even the fans care, certainly the media doesn't care, because you've got fighters that have failed drug tests in their careers getting in the Hall of Fame on their first ballot, while in American baseball, for example, there are still guys who failed drug tests from back in the day that had Hall of Fame careers, who to this day still cannot get into Hall of fame, there’s a standard in American baseball. Boxing has no standard. It's never had any self respect.
“It's a multi-layered problem like an onion and I don't think they even want to get started on peeling away the layers, so that's why Conor Benn fights on Saturday - in some ways it's bad and in some ways it really doesn't matter. He shouldn't be in the ring until the investigation is done but, like I said, even when the investigation is done, they'll probably make it go away regardless.”