Conor Benn (20-0, 13 KOs) lived up to his moniker “The Destroyer” with a fourth-round destruction of former world champion Chris Algieri (25-4-9 KOs) Saturday in London, and on DAZN.
Benn, a welter on the rise, is looking to prove that his name belongs amongst the top fighters within the welterweight division, but, to be frank, buzz for him has been up and down, in the UK, and less than that in the US. That changes now, as the 37 year old Algieri was considered by many Benn’s toughest test to date, on paper.
The first round was a feeling out round for both fighters on the Eddie Hearn card. In the second round, the caution was over, and both fighters started throwing harder shots. Algieri found mild success landing a check left hook as he timed Benn’s jab. Benn, the 25 year old son of a Brit legend, Sir Nigel Benn, was landing hooks of his own except his were more powerful.
Conor was also peppering Algieri’s body with alternating hooks. Both fighters exchanged hooks in the middle of the second round, and Algieri caught the worst end of things. Benn seemed to have landed a left hook that sent Algieri rolling on the mat doing his best Sonic the Hedgehog impersonation.
The referee called it a knockdown, and Algieri quickly got up and protested that the punch was a push, a notion that was confirmed during the replay of the knockdown. But Algieri’s dramatic floor routine added some flair to the affair.
Both fighters seemed to have settled down in the third round and started to confidently exchange punches. Algieri’s left hook was finding a home on Benn’s dome while Benn was throwing thundering punches in return. While both fighters were busy, Benn threw his punches with bad intentions. Algieri’s only defense was to keep a high guard to block Benn’s barrage. But when Algieri threw his guard up, Benn attacked the body, and it seemed like it was starting to affect Algieri. In the fourth round, it appeared that Algieri wanted no part of Benn’s body attack. Algieri mainly fought off his back foot as he pawed with his jab while retreating. He’d try to sneak in a quick right counter, he wanted to be the crafty vet, stay on his feet and exploit a hole.
And out of nowhere, Conor Benn landed a booming 1-2 combination that knocked Algieri out on his feet. Algieri’s body stiffened and he crashed to the mat like a chopped tree in the forest.
“What more do they want me to do?” was the question Benn in the air during the post-fight interview.
While Benn may believe that he put the welterweight division on notice by knocking out Algieri, he still will not be regarded amongst the best in the division. While a win against Algieri puts a solid name on his resume, Algieri is prone to visiting the canvas during fights, some will note.
Therefore, knocking out Algieri is nowhere near the accomplishment that Benn may think it is. The welterweight division boasts some of the greatest fighters in the world today. While Benn is a good fighter, if he were to fight a title match against any of the champions today, he would easily lose. In the meantime, Benn possesses a solid set of skills, and his team needs to continue to match Conor in fights that will challenge him and continue to develop him. But for tonight, Conor can bask in the glory of victory against a solid opponent.