Canelo Alvarez UPDATE on Ilunga Makabu fight: “It’s not done yet”
By Sean Jones: Canelo Alvarez says his fight with WBC cruiserweight champion Ilunga Makabu is NOT done yet for May 7th next year. The former four-division world champion Canelo (57-1-2, 39 KOs) says he’ll see in January if the fight with Makabu (28-2, 25 KOs) can be made or not.
The idea of fighting the little-known 34-year-old WBC champion Makabu wasn’t Canelo’s brainchild. His trainer Eddy Reynoso came up with the idea of him fighting Makabu, and he confesses that he wasn’t familiar with him, but he still likes the idea.
Hopefully, Canelo isn’t too hard on Reynoso if he fails to defeat Makabu because this is a big guy with a lot of power that he’ll be dealing with.
Reynoso seems to be aiming for mediocrity for Canelo with his choice of opponents for the Mexican star instead of encouraging him to fight the best.
It’s strange how Reynoso and Canelo appear tone-deaf when it comes to the fights that the boxing public wants to see from the Mexican star.
Are Canelo & Reynoso deliberately being obtuse or do they honestly believe beating weaker champions like Makabu, Billy Joe Saunders, Caleb Plant, Rocky Fielding, and Callum Smith will make history?
Alvarez taking the wrong approach
When Canelo moved up to 175 to take on past his best WBO champion Sergey Kovalev in 2019, he looked small, slow, and easier to hit
In some respects, it’s a short-sighted goal because it fails to recognize that this generation of boxing fans aren’t impressed with Canelo going up to cruiserweight to pick off the weakest link among the champions in a historically weak division.
Reynoso assumes that future generations of fans will be impressed at learning about Canelo, having won division titles in five weight classes. Still, he doesn’t understand that most fans don’t care.
When fans recall historical boxers from the past, they remember them NOT for how many titles they captured but rather the great fighters they fought.
In Canelo’s case, he’ll be badly missing the mark by going after Makabu rather than the talented champions at cruiserweight in Mairis Briedis and Lawrence Okolie.
Canelo hasn’t expressed any interest in fighting either of those two champions, which indicates that he’s aiming low in his striving to be great.
To put it another way, Canelo is doing the minimum required for him to become a five division world champion. That’s something you can’t respect as much as fighters in the past who took on the best champion when they moved up a division or two.
Canelo wants to make history
Making history is vital for Canelo, and one way he can keep doing that is by continually pushing himself to greater heights.
However, Canelo is unlikely to go up to Bridgerweight or heavyweight to seek more division titles if he successfully defeats Makabu.
Reynoso doesn’t want Canelo to move up to those weight classes, and it’s understandable why. We’ll likely see Canelo moving to light heavyweight and attempting to become the undisputed champion in that weight class.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, who works with Canelo, is still hoping he can change his mind about fighting at cruiserweight. Hearn prefers that Canelo move to the 175-lb division to try and defeat these three excellent champions: Artur Beterbiev [IBF & WBC], Dmitry Bivol [WBA] & Joe Smith Jr. [WBO].
Canelo says the Makabu fight is not done yet
“I really don’t care. I’m a fighter,” said Canelo to World Boxing News about him possibly fighting Makabu next.
“No, it’s not done yet,” said Canelo on him fighting Makabu on May 7th. “We want to see, we want to try to do it, but it’s not done yet,” he said. “So we will see in January what is coming for us.
“Nothing is done yet. So we will see what is the best for us. But it sounds good to me to be a champion in five different weights,” said Canelo.
“I’m always looking for the best, looking for history. So, we’ll see what is coming,” said Alvarez.
It does seem that Canelo has made his mind up that he wants the fight with Makabu next, and it would be a shock if he changes his mind and goes in the direction of greatness instead of mediocrity.
Hearn prefers Canelo fight at 175
Some believe Canelo is waiting for IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev to age more before he faces him so that he’s beatable.
Beterbiev is about to turn 37 in January, and he’s slowed down some since his big win over Oleksandr Gvozdyk in 2019.
However, as we saw last Saturday night, Beterbiev still hits just as hard as ever, and his body punching is lethal and pure trouble for someone like Canelo, who hates getting beaten to the body.
It’s going to require a lot of convincing if Hearn wants to change Canelo’s mind from fighting at cruiserweight because he seems to already resigned himself to the fact that he’ll be facing the unknown WBC belt holder Makabu in his next fight.
If this were about impressing the boxing world and giving the fans the fights they wanted to see, Canelo would have stayed at 168 and fought David Benavidez, Jermall Charlo, and Gennadiy Golovkin.
“I think Canelo can fight all over the world, and that’s important to him and attractive to him,” said Eddie Hearn to ESNEWS when asked where Alvarez will be fighting Makabu next.
“I think that’s a fight that could happen next or later in the year,” Hearn said of Canelo vs. Makabu.
“I personally know Saul is all about making history, as is Eddy [Reynoso], and that is a historic fight in some respects, but I do love the potential of him moving up to 175 and trying to become undisputed in that weight class.
“Sometimes you get a run and when you look at [Callum] Smith, [Billy] Saunders, and [Caleb] Plant, there was an opportunity and a vision to get that done quite quickly.
“I think when you look at [Joe] Smith, [Dmitry] Bivol, and [Artur] Beterbiev, I can see a similar route there,” said Hearn about his vision of Canelo possibly becoming the undisputed champion at 175 like he recently did last November at 168.
“Certainly, we’ll be sitting down with Eddy and Saul in the next few weeks, saying, ‘This is our thoughts, this our offers and numbers.’ I guess PBC and Top Rank and whoever else will as well.
‘We hope that we can work with him again. We not only love working with Eddy and Saul, but we see them as friends as well. We’d love to work together in the New Year on the next fight,” said Hearn about his hopes of changing Canelo’s mind about fighting at cruiserweight next.
You can’t rule out Hearn talking Canelo into fighting at 175 rather than at 200, but what could prevent that from happening is if the Mexican fighter is apprehensive about fighting the dangerous punchers at light heavyweight.
If Canelo fights at 175, he’ll need to deal with the size and body punching of the unbeaten Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs). That’s a fighter with immense power and the ability to go to the body. Canelo has always had problems taking body shots.
While he may have a hit like granite, his ability to take body shots is less impressive.
If Canelo faces Beterbiev, he will indeed be hit to the body very, very hard, and if his ability to take shots downstairs hasn’t improved since his fight with Austin Trout, he won’t last long against the Russian fighter.
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