Will Canelo Alvarez fight reigning WBC cruiserweight champ Ilunga Makabu next? Not if WBC #1 ranked cruiserweight Thabiso McHunu and his team have anything to do with it, he won’t. As fans know, Canelo threw out a real curveball at the recent WBC Convention in Mexico, when he declared his full intention of moving up to the 200 pound division in order to win a historic fifth world title. WBC cruiserweight boss Makabu readily accepted the fight (and the enormous pay day that will come with it) – but there could be a problem.
Thabiso Mchunu is the mandatory challenger for Makabu’s belt, having beaten Russian fighter Evgeny Tischenko in March of this year to earn the distinction. That win saw Mchunu, 23-5(13) earn his shot at Makabu, in what will be a rematch (Makabu stopped Mchunu by 11th round KO back in May of 2015) and now, his trainer Sean Smith has said his fighter will NOT take step-aside money to allow Canelo to get the next shot at Makabu.
Speaking with Sowetan Live, Smith said he will do all he can to ensure that Mchunu gets his rightful shot at Makabu and the WBC title.
“We are mandatory challengers for Ilunga,” Smith said. “There is an obligation for Makabu to defend against Thabiso. Don King (who promotes Makabu) has not come up with the date and venue. Now the WBC Convention came and Canelo’s manager and trainer made a request to fight Junior and it has been announced that the request was approved quickly. We won’t take step-aside money; we want to fight Ilunga and win the WBC title. Canelo wants to fight Makabu in May – between that Makabu must settle the score with Thabiso. We are in the gym but obviously Thabiso needs to know exactly what is happening. Makabu has a mandatory defence signed with Mchunu. I will make immediate communication.”
So it seems the Mchunu fight has to come next, meaning Makabu would have to fight Mchunu some time during the next five months, and then, if victorious, go into the Canelo fight in May. If he does not do this, who knows what will happen? Will Mchunu’s team take legal action if Makabu does not fight him next? A signed contract is a signed contract and if Makabu has indeed put pen to paper for a defence against Mchunu, the fight should of course happen.
We will all have to stay tuned on this one. But if no amount of step-aside cash is enough to make Mchunu and his team agree to let the Canelo-Makabu fight happen, things could get messy.