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Ilunga Makabu: “I Can Punch, Let’s See If Canelo Can Take It”

Posted on 11/19/2021

By: Hans Themistode

Canelo Alvarez has continued to look far and wide for what he considers challenges.

After capturing the final piece of the 168-pound puzzle against Caleb Plant roughly two weeks ago to become the division’s first undisputed world champion, the Mexican star was filled with joy. However, shortly after, a gaping hole remerged.

While Alvarez had no shortage of big fights to choose from, both he, and head trainer Eddy Reynoso, opted to move away from taking on the likes of WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo, two-time super middleweight belt holder David Benavidez, and unified light heavyweight titlist Artur Beterbiev. Instead, team Alvarez appears more interested in making history.

During the World Boxing Councils’ recent convention, Reynoso requested that Alvarez be allowed to move up from 168 pounds to take on current cruiserweight belt holder, Ilunga Makabu.

“As the representative of Canelo,” said Reynoso during the WBC convention. “I am here to ask the World Boxing Council, the next fight for Canelo will be cruiserweight champion [Ilunga] Makabu for May or June.”

Although initially taken aback, Mauricio Sulaiman, President of the sanctioning body, formally agreed to allow their contest to take place next.

“This is a very big surprise,” said Sulaiman. “But the WBC has approved unanimously for Saul Canelo Alvarez to fight for the cruiserweight championship of the world.”

Now, with the pair seemingly on a collision, Makabu gave his feelings on the ambitions of Alvarez.

“I can say he’s crazy because he wants to challenge a dangerous man,” said Makabu during an interview with Fight Hub TV.

Makabu, 34, rose to prominence in January of 2020. Since suffering a surprising third-round stoppage defeat at the hands of Tony Bellew in 2016, the South African resident reeled off nine straight wins, seven of which came via stoppage.

Following his unanimous decision victory over Michal Cieslak, Makabu wrapped the vacant WBC crown around his waist. He would then go on to stop Olanrewaju Durodola 11 months later.

Though Makabu is firmly of the belief that he’s the best fighter in the cruiserweight division, Alvarez’s willingness to step into his domain was astonishing. Once a showdown between the pair was presented to him, Makabu admits that he began going through numerous emotions.

“My first emotion is, I’m facing the best fighter on the planet,” explained Makabu. “Secondly, I say why did he choose me? I understand that he didn’t choose me but the time choose me because right now I am a champion.”

If Alvarez successfully rips away Makabu’s WBC crown, he’ll become the first five-division world champion of Mexican descent. Admittedly, Makabu applauds Alvarez for his aspirations. Also, while the 34-year-old never anticipated a showdown between them, he reveals that he’s watched several of Alvarez’s fights.

Throughout the career of the Mexican star, not only has he been lauded for his boxing ability but also, for his granite level chin. With that said, Makabu is anxious to find out just how durable Alvarez is in the ring.

“I can box, I can punch. Let’s see if Canelo can take it.”

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