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Canelo Alvarez next fight: WBC approve cruiserweight title bout with Ilunga Junior Makabu

Big news from the WBC convention as Canelo seeks a new challenge at cruiserweight.

Canelo Alvarez may have his next opponent, a curveball choice in Ilunga Junior Makabu
Canelo Alvarez may have his next opponent, a curveball choice in Ilunga Junior Makabu
Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

Canelo Alvarez will reportedly attempt to win a world title in a fifth weight class in his next fight in May 2022.

There has been a good deal of speculation around Canelo’s next choice of opponent after he made history as the first undisputed super middleweight champion with a win over Caleb Plant on Nov. 6, but a cruiserweight challenge against WBC title-holder Ilunga Junior Makabu (28-2, 25 KO) was not very high on anyone’s list of predictions.

On Tuesday evening, the WBC announced that it approved Canelo’s request to challenge their WBC titleholder for his next fight on Cinco de Mayo weekend. This move is somewhat reminiscent of Roy Jones Jr moving up to heavyweight to challenge and defeat WBA heavyweight titleholder John Ruiz in 2003.

This matchup may not garner the same attention one with Jermall Charlo, David Benavidez, or a trilogy fight with Gennadiy Golovkin would, but it really does present a difficult challenge for the Mexican superstar. Makabu is no household name, and the cruiserweight division overall doesn’t contain many fighters familiar to American audiences. However, Makabu is an all-action fighter, and certainly a much bigger man than anyone Canelo has faced thus far.

Clearly Canelo (57-1-2, 39 KO) sees a pathway to victory here, much like he did against what turned out to be a faded Sergey Kovalev at light heavyweight in 2019. The 34-year-old Makabu still looks to have what it takes to give anyone in his division the business, let alone a former junior middleweight most recently competing in the super middleweight division.

Provided Don King, who promotes Makabu, doesn’t block this fight from becoming a reality, we could be in for a fun one in May. Canelo has also expressed his desire to put on a stadium fight in Mexico in 2022, and this matchup in particular would be a good candidate for that kind of event.

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