CANELO ALVAREZ’S potential next opponent Ilunga Makabu is a familiar face among British boxing fans.
After the news the WBC green lit Canelo’s request to jump to CRUISERWEIGHT, several would have been quickly googling Makabu’s name.
But others would have recognised him from the 2016 world title fight he had with Bellew, at the Evertonian’s beloved Goodison Park.
It was his coronation night and capped off three chaotic rounds of explosive action.
Bellew, now 38, was down in the first round following a left hand, which was so hard the Brit did a backwards roll.
But Makabu, 34, was brutally knocked out on the ropes half way through round three after a devastating left hook.
It did prove to be the cruiserweight’s last career loss, winning nine since, beating Pole Michal Cieslak, 32, for the vacant WBC belt in January 2020.
Canelo, 31, meanwhile has won belts from light-middleweight all the way to light-heavyweight.
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His heaviest career victory was for the WBO 175lb title which he won after knocking out Sergey Kovalev, 39, in November 2019.
But Canelo soon moved back down to super-middleweight, where he has since settled.
And the Mexican superstar became undisputed champion in just 11 months and four fights.
Wins over Callum Smith, 31, Avni Yildirim, 30, Billy Joe Saunders, 32, and most recently Caleb Plant, 29, saw him win and retain the belts.
Talk has quickly turned to what could be next for Canelo, who is currently a free agent.
His trainer and manager Eddy Reynoso named Artur Beterbiev, 36, Dmitry Bivol, 30, Jermall Charlo, 31, and David Benavidez, 24, as potential options.
But moving as high as the 14st 4lb cruiserweight, which is over TWO STONE more than Canelo’s usual fighting weight, has emerged as a new avenue.
And promoter Eddie Hearn revealed Bellew has personally warned him of the power Makabu possesses.
Hearn told iFL TV: “I think it’s a dangerous fight.
“I was speaking to Tony Bellew – who could be looking real good in a few months if this happens – and he said that Makabu is a huge puncher, huge puncher, and very strong.”
Hearn added: “I like the fight against Makabu. I think it’s a dangerous fight, I think it’s an exciting fight and as I said, Saul and Eddy are interested in making history.
“They’re not interested in having normal, boring fights. Every fight has to mean something.”