By: Sean Crose
With Mike Tyson by his side, former two division world champion Badou Jack made his way to the ring in Saudi Arabia on Sunday planning to win himself the WBC cruiserweight title. Indeed, a victory would earn the Swedish fighter his third world title in three separate weight divisions. First, however, Jack would have to get past the defending champion, the Republic of the Congo’s Ilunga Makabu, who was making the third defense of his title. The fight was scheduled for 12 rounds.
The 27-3-3 Jack looked good throughout the first three rounds against the 29-2 Makabu. The pace was far from rapid, as this was a cruiserweight fight. Still, it was clear that both men were experienced pros. Jack, however, was generally able to hit without getting hit effectively by the defending champion. That all changed, however, when – in the later part of the third – Makabu was able to land well on his man.
An absolutely thunderous shot in the fourth put Makabu on the mat. Makabu was able to get to his feet, but Jack was not going to allow himself to get caught fighting recklessly. The man remained patient. Although Makabu was able to keep in the fight over the next few rounds, it was clear by the midpoint of the bout that Jack was well in control. Makabu simply wasn’t able to land well more than occasionally.
As the fight continued on Makabu was simply being outclassed. Jack, in short, was simply too good a fighter for him to best. Makabu kept trying, but Jack always appeared to be one step ahead. While the defending champion was able to nail Jack hard in the last moments of round nine, the nearly forty year old Jack was largely putting on a masterclass.
By the tenth round, Jack was simply beating his man up and it was worth wondering if the fight would actually go the distance. A terrific punch dropped Makabu for the second time early in the eleventh. Again, the champion got up, but he was now taking a whole lot of punishment. The twelfth and final round saw Makabu give it his all, but a thudding Jack combination led the referee to stop the fight, giving Jack his third divisional world title.
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