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Bellew-Makabu, Price-Pejsar & Smith-Reynoso on 5/29


By Scott Gilfoid: Well, it’s the moment of truth for #6 WBC Tony Bellew (26-2-1, 16 KOs) in him facing #1 WBC Ilunga Makabu (19-1, 18 KOs) this Sunday on May 29 at Goodison Park Stadium, in Liverpool, UK. After toiling away in the cruiserweight division for two years, Bellew, 33, will be fighting for the vacant WBC cruiserweight title against one of the best fighters in that weight class in Makabu.

This is going to be a really tough match for Bellew because he was flopping around like a fish out of water the last time he fought a huge puncher in Adonis Stevenson three years ago in 2013. Bellew could not stand up to Stevenson’s power once he started exchanging punches with him.

In facing Makabu, Bellew will be fighting a guy with better punching power than Stevenson, and it’s going to be tough for Bellew to be able to stand up to his withering power.

Unless Bellew’s chin has gotten better since his knockout loss to Stevenson, he’s not going to be able to hold up under the strain of getting nailed by Makabu’s heavy shots for long. Bellew didn’t look at all good in barely beating fringe contender Mateuz Masternak last December in beating him by a narrow 12 round decision victory. That fight should have shown Bellew that he’s not cut out for the cruiserweight division. I mean, if you’re going life and death with a bottom ranked fringe contender like Masternak, what conclusions are we to draw from that? Was it just an off night for Bellew, or does Masternak have world-class talent? If that was the case of Masternak having world class talent, then why did he lose to Johnny Muller, Youri Kayembre Kalenga and Grigory Drozd?

I think Bellew is going to have a lot of soul searching to do after his fight against Makabu on Sunday. Bellew is going to need to make a decision whether he’s cut out for the cruiserweight division or not. He can certainly stay in this weight class if/when he gets beaten by Makabu, but he’ll need to come to terms with him being just a contender and not someone that is going to be able to win a world title at this weight.

I suspect that Bellew’s promoter Eddie Hearn will have him go after IBF/WBA champion Denis Lebedev or WBO champ Glowacki, but I see the outcome of those fights being even worse for Bellew. Those guys can really punch and I see them as a step above Makabu in talent. As such, I don’t see Bellew being able to stand in there with those fighters for more than a few rounds at best.

I don’t think Makabu is the best in the cruiserweight division nor even the fifth best. However, Makabu is definitely a top 10 cruiserweight and a very dangerous fighter at that weight due to his punching power. I don’t rate Bellew at top 10. I mean, Bellew might have #6 ranking by the World Boxing Council, but I do not rate him higher than the following cruiserweights: Murat Gassiev, Olesandr Usyk, Grigory Drozd, Marco Huck, Beibut Shumenov, Denis Lebedev, Krzystof Glowacki, Mairis Briedis, Olanrewja Durodola, Dmytro Kucher, Dmitry Kudryashov, Thabiso Mchunu, Micki Nielse and Krszysztof Wlodarczyk. I see all those guys as better than Bellew plus another six or seven.

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Bellew would have been better off if he’d stayed at light heavyweight after 6th round knockout loss to Adonis Stevenson in 2013. Instead, Bellew made what appears to have been an impulsive and poorly thought out move by moving up to cruiserweight and burning through three years of his career facing weaker opposition.

Now after three years, Bellew will be fighting for a world title for the first and possibly the last time in the cruiserweight division, and I suspect things will go badly for him. Had Bellew stayed at light heavyweight, he almost surely would have gotten another world title shot by now. Yeah, he likely would have been blown out against whoever he faced, but at least he would have gotten another shot.


Also on the Bellew-Makabu card is unbeaten #1 WBC super middleweight contender Callum Smith (19-0, 14 KOs) facing journeyman Cesar Hernan Reynoso (14-7-3, 7 KOs) in an eight round stay busy fight. Smith is waiting for the smoke to clear from the unification fight between WBC 168lb champion Badou Jack and IBF belt holder James DeGale for their proposed fight in September.

Smith, 26, will then fight the winner of that fight for the IBF and WBC belts. I think that’s going to be a tough experience for Smith to fight DeGale or Jack, given the low level opposition he’s been fighting. Instead of Smith fighting the likes of journeyman Reynoso, he needs to be fighting someone good enough to get him ready for what he’s going to experience when he gets inside the ring against the winner of the DeGale-Jack fight.

My suggestion is that Smith should have been fighting the likes of Andre or Anthony Dirrell. Those are next level fighters, and Smith should have to prove himself against them to fight for a world title instead of the likes of Mohoumadi, Rocky Fielding, Christopher Rebrasse, and Nikola Sjekloca. Those are decent fringe level guys, but not top 10 talents like the Dirrell brothers. At the very least, I think Smith should have to prove himself against Lucian Bute, Fedor Chudinov, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Alexander Brand, Arthur Abraham, Patrick Nielsen, Jesse Hart, Jose Uzcategui, J’Leon Love or Felix Sturm.

Smith is coming off a 1st round knockout win over Hadillah Mohoumadi for the EBU super middleweight title last April.


Former British/Commonwealth heavyweight champion David Price (19-3, 16 KOs) will be looking to get back into the win column against little known Vaclav Pejsar (9-2, 8 KOs) in an eight round fight. Pejsar is a replacement for journeyman Jakov Gospic, the original opponent for the 32-year-old Price.

There’s not much to say about this fight other than if Price loses to Pejsar, then it’s pretty much over for him. I think Price would be in a situation where he would need to think seriously about hanging up the gloves. Heck, I think Price should be thinking about that right now after his KO losses to Tony Thompson [x 2] and Erkan Teper. Pejsar isn’t world class, but from the looks of his record, he seems to have some pop in his punches. If Price folds against this guy, then I don’t think there’s no coming back.

The 31-year-old Pejsar is from the Czech Republic. Pejsar has lost to Tom Schwartz and Andriy Rudenko during his short two-year pro career. Pejsar has won his last four fights in beating Gabor Farkas, Shalva Jomardashvili, David Gegeshidze and Martin Stensky.

Price was knocked out in the 2nd round in his last fight by Erkan Teper last year in July 2015.

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