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Canelo next fight: Ilunga Junior Makabu vs Thabiso Mchunu rematch may happen in January, Alvarez fight in jeopardy

Canelo Alvarez’s big plans to face Ilunga Junior Makabu for a cruiserweight belt in January may be going by the wayside.

Canelo Alvarez’s plans to face Ilunga Junior Makabu in May might have gone up in smoke
Canelo Alvarez’s plans to face Ilunga Junior Makabu in May might have gone up in smoke
Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images, Al Bello/Getty Images, and Donat Sorokin/TASS via Getty Images

A rematch between Ilunga Junior Makabu and mandatory challenger Thabiso Mchunu may be coming on Jan. 29, which could put Makabu’s planned May 7 WBC cruiserweight title defense against Canelo Alvarez in jeopardy.

Don King, the 90-year-old promoter long since faded from being any sort of real power in the boxing world, sent out a press release announcing he will stage the Makabu-Mchunu rematch in Warren, Ohio, and said that Canelo would be in attendance.

It has to be said straight off that King has trouble actually putting cards on anymore, and almost never does them. If you go to King’s web site, the most recent update was from Feb. 1 of this year, a bit about congratulating Trevor Bryan for his win over Bermane Stiverne, which headlined an absolute mess of an event on Jan. 29 in Florida.

So you have to take the King announcement with a grain of salt. That said, despite all the troubles he ran into last January, that card did happen.

Mchunu said just days ago that he had no intention of stepping aside and allowing Canelo to take the fight with Makabu, which the WBC had recently approved at their convention. The Canelo camp were hoping that Mchunu would step aside, and Eddy Reynoso has noted there are “other options” for May 7 if the Makabu fight is a no-go.

Makabu stopped Mchunu in the 11th round when the two fought in 2015, with that bout taking place in South Africa. Mchunu was up on two of three score cards and even on the third at the time of the stoppage. He won the WBC’s “silver” title in 2019, and last fought on March 27 in Russia, beating Evgeny Tishchenko by decision. Makabu was last out in Dec. 2020, stopping Olanrewaju Durodola in seven rounds.