Canelo Alvarez’s next fight confirmed by WBC with move to cruiserweight to face Ilunga Makabu

The Mexican is fresh from becoming the undisputed super middleweight world champion with an 11th round knockout of Caleb Plant

Jack Rathborn
Wednesday 17 November 2021 14:31
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Canelo Alvarez’s next fight has been confirmed by the WBC with the Mexican superstar primed to move up in weight to face cruiserweight world champion Ilunga Makabu.

The Congolese stands between Canelo (57-1-2, 39 KOs) and a world title at a fifth weight class as he continues to build an immense legacy in the sport following a knockout victory over Caleb Plant to clinch undisputed status at super middleweight.

Canelo is bidding to become just the sixth man in boxing history to become a quintuple world champion, following: Floyd Mayweather, Oscar de la Hoya, Ray Charles Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Manny Pacquiao. While Amanda Serrano and Naoko Fujioka also achieved it in the women’s code.

The pair will collide in May or June, the WBC confirmed, which is traditionally a time of the year when Canelo has fought, usually to celebrate Mexico’s Cinco de Mayo weekend.

Makabu, Africa’s only current world champion, has reestablished himself as a genuine force on the world scene with a nine-fight win streak since being wiped out inside three rounds by Tony Bellew at Goodison Park in 2016.

And now the 34-year-old has won the Canelo sweepstakes after the Mexican picked off three world champions at 168 pounds in the shape of Callum Smith, Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant inside 12 months.

Canelo now faces arguably his toughest challenge since being outclassed by Floyd Mayweather Jr in the early stages of his career as he pushes the limits of his ability while rising up the weight classes.

The move will see Canelo compete at 190 pounds, with the WBC lowering the 200-pound limit after bringing in the bridgerweight division, with its upper limit set at 224 pounds between cruiserweight and heavyweight.

The news came as a source of frustration for Lawrence Okolie, with the Briton holding the WBO cruiserweight world title and sensing one opportunity to unify slip away: “That’s another belt I can’t unify now.

“Madly enough I think he will actually win and go back down in weight. So I can go back to being a fan. Don’t blame me when you see me box [a] YouTuber next.”

A statement from the governing body read: “The World Boxing Council Board of Governors has unanimously voted to approve Saul Canelo Alvarez to fight for the WBC cruiserweight title, in May or June.

“It was proposed by his coach and manager Eddy Reynoso at the mandatory defenses committee at the WBC 59th Convention in Mexico City.”

Elsewhere, Canelo’s bid to reign at cruiserweight will see David Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs) fight for the interim super middleweight title.

The American had been floated as a possible match next for Canelo, with the 24-year-old tipped by many to have the tools to push him close.

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