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Bellew vs. Makabu: Analysis and prediction

By Scott Gilfoid: Tony Bellew (26-2-1, 16 KOs) is really up against it tonight in facing the arguably much more talented and powerful #1 WBC Ilunga Makabu (19-1, 18 KOs) at the Goodison Park Stadium in Liverpool, UK. Bellew and Makabu will be fighting for the vacant WBC cruiserweight title.

Bellew, 33, has always wanted to capture a world title in his career, and he feels that with the fight taking place in Liverpool in front of a huge pro-Bellew crowd at Goodison Park, he’ll have a good chance of realizing his dream. I don’t see it happening for Bellew, I hate to say. Future events cast their shadows before.

Bellew has fallen apart each time he’s stepped it up a class during his career. We saw that in his loss to Adonis Stevenson and in his first fight against Nathan Cleverly, when Cleverly was in the zenith of his career. Bellew is facing a very, very big puncher in 29-year-old Makabu tonight, and I don’t see him being able to handle his punching power.

“I get on with Tony now. We had our differences in the past but it’s all been a bit of banter, hasn’t it? I am happy for him and if anybody deserves a title shot it’s him. I’m over the moon for him,” said Fury to skysports.com.

You did notice that Fury didn’t come out and make a favorable prediction about Bellew. That’s really telling that Fury didn’t come out and give the old ‘Bellew is going to win’ bit. I respect Fury for that because I think a lot of people would give a positive prediction for Bellew, even if they didn’t really believe it. At least Fury didn’t stoop to that level by giving thoughts about Bellew’s chances that he may or may not believe.

Bellew, 6’2”, has the wrong style for him to beat a talented fighter like Makabu. That’s the whole problem. Bellew is a slugger facing a next level slugger in Makabu. If these two guys were robots, I would see Bellew as the older model robot with a lot of age on him and wear and tear. Makabu is the newer version of robot with plenty of improvements over the last line.

“Bellew is going to put everything on the line fighting in front of his boyhood club. He’ll have a lot of support there and although they’re not in the ring with him, I know from my own experiences that it helps you when you’re in there,” said Josh Warrington to skysports.com.

It’s true that Bellew is going to put it on the line in this fight. He’s got to. Bellew will be fighting in front of thousands of at Goodison Park, and if he loses the fight, it’s going to look really bad for him. Bellew’s whole boxing career has been building towards this fight. A lot of people in British boxing are behind Bellew. However, the bookies favor Makabu, and you can understand that because he’s the one with the talent.

Bellew is just a career contender level fighter, who moved up in weight to the cruiserweight division after getting taken apart in six rounds in his loss to Adonis Stevenson several years ago. Bellew was totally dominated by Stevenson in that fight. Afterwards, Bellew complained about how hard it was for him to make the 175lb weight class, and how it was taking a lot out of him in making weight. He then moved up to cruiserweight and has won his last six fights against lesser opposition.

Bellew hasn’t faced any of the really good cruiserweights. I know Bellew was over the moon with his recent win over contender Mateusz Masternak last December, but that wasn’t a top guy in the division. Masternak is fringe level. The good fighters in the cruiserweight division are ones that Bellew has not been facing. Only Bellew and his promote Eddie Hearn know why he’s not been fighting the dangerous guys like Olesander Usyk, Makabu, Marco Huck, Mairis Briedis, and Murat Gassiev.

Now if Bellew had fought those guys and beaten them, then it would something to get excited about. But the fact of the matter is, Bellew has been matched carefully since he moved up to cruiserweight in 2014, and he’s stepping it up tonight against one of the more dangerous fighters in the division in Makabu.

History has shown us when you’ve got a fighter that is facing very weak opposition, they tend to lose when they’re moved up drastically against a really talented fighter. That’s what we’re seeing tonight with Bellew facing Makabu. Hearn hasn’t moved Bellew correctly by giving him the right competition to get him ready for what he’ll be facing tonight in Makabu, and he’s going to be sorry for that when he finds out how much better Makabu is compared to the guys he’s been fighting.

I think Bellew is going to be in major shock when he gets inside the ring tonight and finds out how much better Makabu is compared to guys like Masternak, Cleverly, Arturs Kulikauskis, Ivica Bcacurin, Julio Cesar dos Santos and Valery Brudov. Sadly, those are the fighters that Bellew has been facing since he moved up to cruiserweight in 2014.

Makabu is going to walk Bellew down tonight and nail him with huge shots. Bellew says he’s got a great game plan to minimize the punching power of Makabu. However, I don’t think it’s going to work well because Makabu has fought runners and guys that clinch a lot, and he’s shown that he can beat them.

Bellew will likely use clinching, running and jabbing to try and stink up the fight to limit the punch output from Makabu enough for him to possibly edge him on the scorecards. With the fight being in Liverpool, Bellew might be able to get the benefit of the doubt even if he appears to lose by a close decision. However, I see Makabu being able to catch Bellew sooner or later and blasting him out with a huge uppercut to the head.

Prediction: Makabu by 5th round knockout over Bellew. I see this fight going badly for Bellew.




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