With his great win over Ilunga Makabu, veteran warrior Badou Jack breathed fresh life into an already accomplished career, his ripping of the WBC cruiserweight title seeing “The Ripper” become a three-time titlist. But, like all new champions, Jack now has a target on his back. At age 39, having had a long and at times punishing, draining career, it’s not clear how much Jack, 28-3-3(17) has left or how much he has got left to give.
Retirement, this whilst on a big high, could be an option, but this seems unlikely. Jack is a real warrior, and he showed against Makabu that his punching power has travelled up with him to 200 pounds. The cruiserweight division is also currently pretty open, so Jack may not look around and see any clear and present danger. Jack may also look to add more 200 pound belts to his resume.
One man who has already called Jack out is unbeaten British cruiserweight contender Richard Riakporhe. Riakporhe – who had that recent beef with rival Brit Lawrence Okolie – told Sky Sports how he is “better in every department” than the recently crowned WBC champ.
Riakporhe, 16-0(12) also said he is “too dangerous” for Jack and that he has had “no response” from Jack and his team since calling him out.
“As I predicted, I haven’t had any response whatsoever. I believe I am one of the most dangerous fighters in the world, so I don’t blame them for ducking and diving me,” Riakporhe said. “I just believe I’ve got all the attributes to become a champion. I’ve got the mindset, I live the life. There’s nothing that could stop me. If they [Team-Jack] think otherwise, they can prove me wrong. He performed excellently (in the Makabu fight). I haven’t really seen any deterioration in him. It shows how good a champion he is, improving his game against Makabu, getting the stoppage victory.”
Riakporhe is one of the young guns of the division (although he is already 33) and it could prove to take a hefty payday to entice Jack into agreeing to fight him. In truth what, aside from an unbeaten record and maybe that big payday, would Jack take from a win over Riakporhe? There is talk of Riakporhe perhaps having a return fight with Chris Billam-Smith, who Riakporhe defeated via split decision back in 2019. Maybe this is a more realistic fight for Riakporhe at this stage.
Jack will no doubt look for the biggest and best-paying fights he can get at this stage of his career, and who can blame him. It seems Jack and Riakporhe are two fighters at totally different stages of their respective careers, and as such are unlikely to fight. Still, you can’t blame Riakporhe for calling the new champion out, and we sure would tune in if these two did rumble.