Ilunga Makabu hopes to impress Canelo Alvarez, faces Thabiso Mchunu on Saturday

Through Huck Allen: Ilunga Makabu (28-2, 25 KOs) must impress this Saturday night in his WBC cruiserweight title defense against No. 1 Thabiso Mchunu (25-3, 13 KOs) to stay in the picture for a fight against Canelo Alvarez in May. 7th.

Canelo has not said if he plans to fight Makabu next May 7 during the Cinco de Mayo holiday weekend. Still, he and his trainer/manager Eddy Reynoso took the time to show up at the WBC convention to ask permission to move up to cruiserweight to challenge him.

The idea behind Canelo moving up to heavyweight is to win a fifth division world title. He will not stay in this weight class.

It would just be a one-and-done for 31-year-old Canelo against Makabu and then he’ll go down to 168 or maybe fight at 175.

Makabu, 34, will defend his WBC title this Saturday, Jan. 39, against Mchunu, 33, in a rematch at Packard Music Hall in Warren, Ohio.

Seven years ago, Makabu rallied to stop Mchunu in the eleventh round in May 2015. Since that fight, Mchunu has had his ups and downs, winning seven and losing three. Lately, Mchunu won and will enter Saturday’s title fight against WBC champion Makabu with a three-fight winning streak.

Erik Morales says Canelo is taking a big risk

“I think this is a great opportunity for fighters in this weight class,” boxing great Erik Morales told Television Battle Hub on Canelo, possibly moving up to cruiserweight on May 7.

“He’s a four-division world champion, and he can be the first Mexican and Latino to be a five-division world champion,” Morales continued of Canelo.

I think it’s something good, but super risky, but it will be worth it. Yes, it’s a big risk. It will be difficult, going up to 200 pounds. Let’s see the terms they agree on for the fight.

“Well, I really couldn’t tell you,” ‘El Terrible’ Morales said when asked if it was true that Canelo was picking the weakest of cruiserweight champions in Makabu, 34, at the place of the best.

“I don’t know the opponent and I haven’t seen him fight. He’s a world champion, though, for a reason,” Morales said of Makabu.

It won’t be easy for Canelo if Makabu fights to win against him and lets go of his hand. If Makabu fights back like he usually does throwing hard punches and pressure, the 5’8″ Canelo could lose.

On the other hand, if Makabu fights like Sergey Kovalev did against Canelo, hitting and throwing without power on his shots, the Mexican star can win. It’s unclear why Makabu would fight like this, but it’s possible.

Leonard thinks Alvarez has the tools

“He’s got the tools and the equipment,” Sugar Ray Leonard said when asked if Canelo could fight at heavyweight. “It’s all here [brains]. It’s like when I moved against [light heavyweight] Dany Lalonde. In fact, I just talked to him today. Donny is here too, and that was a big step forward.

“I won the title, but I gave it up because it was too big, too much for me. He just has to be himself.

“Fight your fight and be smart,” Leonard said of what Canelo needs to do to succeed at heavyweight. “In boxing, anything can happen, and I say to both guys, good luck,” Leonard said.

Makabu’s size will be the biggest problem for Canelo as he is small and looked slow when he strengthened to fight at 175 in 2019.

If Canelo can negotiate a catchweight with Makabu needing to go down to 190 for the fight, he has a good chance of winning. The rehydration limit would also work for Canelo to weaken Makabu enough for him to win.

It will be a double whammy for Makabu if he has to manage a catchweight of 190 pounds as well as a rehydration limit preventing him from regaining weight.