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Canelo Alvarez making audacious attempt to become cruiserweight champion in next fight

Canelo Alvarez is looking to fight at 190 lbs next year.

Canelo Alvarez (C) walks away after knocking out Caleb Plant.
Canelo Alvarez (C) walks away after knocking out Caleb Plant.
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Boxing’s undisputed super-middleweight champion is looking to jump two weight classes and win a world title in his fifth weight class.

Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) has been approved for a WBC cruiserweight title fight against Congolese champion Ilunga Junior Makabu (28-2, 25 KOs). Alvarez intends to return to the ring in May or June, so that would be the targeted date, but actually making the fight happen would involve getting a deal done with Makabu’s promoter... Don King. Yes. Don King.

Makabu has won nine straight since his dramatic third-round knockout loss to Tony Bellew (whom Makabu dropped in the opening round). His notable wins include Thabiso Mchunu, Dmitry Kudryashov, Aleksei Papin, and most recently Olanrewaju Durodola.

Cruiserweight tends to not get a lot of mainstream attention given it’s between light heavyweight and heavyweight (plus from a US perspective, where there are no elite American cruiserweights), but it is the division where Oleksandr Usyk gained prominence by becoming undisputed champion back in 2018.

Alvarez’s heaviest weight was 174.5 lbs for his KO of Sergey Kovalev in 2019. The standard cruiserweight limit is 200 lbs, but since the WBC specifically introduced that stupid Bridgerweight division (max limit: 225 lbs), their limit is down to 190 lbs... which is what it used to be many moons ago. In other words, Makabu would have had to make the weight cut anyway.

If nothing else, we’d get to see Canelo’s historically granite chin tested against a top-flight cruiserweight who is both in his prime and displays legitimate knockout power on a consistent basis.

It’s an out of left field fight but it’s certainly one that could be interesting if it happens. The other cruiserweight champions are Lawrence Okolie (WBO), Mairis Briedis (IBF, and consensus #1 in the division), and Arsen Goulamirian (WBA).