• Mon, Mar 13, 2023
PR mess around Conor Benn

Okay, so we now know that Conor Benn failed two drug tests. But this is now what we are talking about today, we are going to talk about the fallout. The talking has been and gone, and the supposed fight never took place, so we have to move on. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about the PR disaster that surrounded the fight. The two promoters are still defending their actions whilst relatives of the fighters are stating how they are shocked that they even attempted to get the fight on.

Of course, sports always come down to money. We might deny it and the big showbiz names will deny it, but in reality, it is almost impossible to deny. We’ve seen the recent events in Qatar highlight how much it really came down to money. But this fight was slightly different. Was it really about the money for Conor Benn and Chris Eubank Jr? Both fighters have long wanted this fight, despite operating in completely different divisions. Chris Eubank Jr had to lose a serious amount of weight to sink down to Benn’s level. This is what made it even more dangerous as Eubank was going into the fight and would have been a lot weaker than usual. If Benn has really been using performance-enhancing drugs then it could have been extremely dangerous. So, in many people’s eyes, the only reason that the fight was even suggested was down to money. The fact that the promoters tried to get it on makes this even more obvious.

Don’t get us wrong, we’re not trying to absolve Conor Benn of any blame for failing the drug test. That was down to him and he knew what would be in his body. But who on earth was advising him in the events that followed? Was he pushing to get the fight on despite failing a drug test or was he being advised poorly? We know Eddie Hearn is a very polished PR guru and has done great things for the world of Boxing. But both he and the promotor of Eubank Jr did not want to cancel the right and kept a first failed test secret from the public. That’s what makes this even more of a PR blunder. The fight was going to go ahead because it had been brushed under the carpet and the only reason it was stopped was that the secret was leaked. If this wasn’t leaked, we’d have seen the fight.

Whilst we understand there were contracts, that is the reason neither promoter wanted to cancel the fight. They would then have been in breach of contract and then would have been open to being sued by the other side. So, it was really about money rather than PR. It’s a bit of a shame that it descended into this, but the British Board of Boxing Control (BBBC) could also have definitely done more. However, the whole sorry mess just left all boxing fans around the world feeling a bit numb. We understand that everyone was desperate to get the fight on, but not if someone’s life was on the line.

In our opinion, honesty and transparency from Benn’s team would have been the way forwards. Instead, Eddie Hearn kept telling us we had to wait for the facts. But that’s all we literally did and all the facts said was that the fight should not have gone ahead. We waited, and waited, and waited. There were rumours that the B sample would show that it was a false positive. But this never proved to be the case. Any digital marketing or PR agency would have worked hard to get ahead of the doom and gloom news that was leaking out. But instead, they just delayed the inevitable.

When the interviews eventually came, they did not change the mind of the watching public. All the ‘wait for the facts’ interviews showed us was that Benn has in fact failed two drug tests and the interviews highlighted this. Benn has tried to clear his name but it is clear to us that he was just trying to clear his name after the debacle, rather than just accept responsibility. It’s a real shame but this is what sport is like nowadays. It’s all about the money. Benn is definitely to blame but we do suspect his advisers have not been on top form and could have dealt with this differently.

We’d love to be talking about who won the fight and why they won or lost. But instead, we are talking about what we suspect would have happened. Despite stepping up divisions, the money was on Benn as he had to get stronger, whilst Eubank had to drop down a division and was evidently weaker. Eubank Jr does not have much body fat, so the only way he would have lost weight is to not eat properly. He wouldn’t have had the required energy.

Where would you have got the best odds? There were plenty of bookies and online bookmakers who were offering varied odds on the fight. It wasn’t easy to find any odds which were the same, such was the difficulty to predict this fight. However, one thing that was easy was to find online betting companies or casinos where punters could pay via PayPal. With regard to finding these sites, Onlinecasinos.co.uk even wrote an article on finding the best places online to gamble and use PayPal. It makes life much easier for punters and pundits alike to place a wager. It would have been great to have placed the bet on a boxing match, but there is always next time.

The fight won’t likely happen again but there will be plenty of other boxing matches for us to look forward to.

Tobias Klein
Who was at fault for the PR mess around Conor Benn?

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