Ilunga Junior Makabu vs Badou Jack Preview February 26th, 2023
WBC Cruiserweight Champion Ilunga Makabu of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be defending his title for the third time when he takes on Sweden’s Badou Jack in Saudi Arabia this Sunday, February 26th. Makabu last fought in January, 2022 when he beat Thabiso Mchunu via a split decision in a rematch after stopping Mchunu in the 11th round seven years earlier. Jack, a former world super middleweight and light heavyweight champion, last boxed in August when he beat Richard Rivera by a 10-round split decision. This weekend’s bout can be seen live on pay-per-view or DAZN, depending on when you reside, and it’s on the undercard of the Jake Paul vs Tommy Fury event.
Makabu vs Jack Betting Odds
- Badou Jack +140
- Ilunga Makubu -170
The 35-year-old Makabu is a southpaw who fights out of South Africa and enters the ring with a mark of 29-2 with 25 Ko’s. He stands 6-feet tall with a 74-inch reach and has been the distance just four times as a pro as he was stopped in both of his defeats. Those came at the hands of Khayeni Hlungwane in just 29 seconds of his pro debut back in 2008 and in the third round by Tony Bellew in a shot at the vacant WBC Cruiserweight title in 2016 after dropping Bellew in the first round.
Makabu has fought 153 rounds since making his pro debut and owns a very impressive knockout ratio of 80.7 per cent but has gone the distance in three of his last four fights. His best wins have been against the likes of Mchunu, Dmitry Kudryashov, Glen Johnson, Dmytro Kucher and Eric Fields. Since turning pro he’s also captured the WBF World, IBF Youth, WBC Silver, and WBC International Cruiserweight Titles. He won the vacant WBC World Belt in January, 2020 when he beat Michal Cieslak by unanimous decision. He defended it against Olanrewaju Durodola 11 months later when he stopped him in the third round before beating Mchunu in their rematch.
The 39-year-old Jack now fights out of Dubai via Las Vegas and owns a record of 27-3-3 with 16 Ko’s. He’s a former WBC Super Middleweight Titleholder who then won the WBA Light Heavyweight Title by stopping Nathan Cleverly in the fifth round in August, 2017. Jack possesses a good jab, decent and underrated power and is a good counterpuncher. He’s not a spectacular boxer, but is a very solid one.
His first defeat came at the hands of Derek Edwards via a first-round stoppage in February, 2014 and he didn’t taste defeat again until January, 2019 when he lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Marcus Browne for the interim WBA and vacant WBC Silver Light-heavyweight Titles. He then dropped a controversial decision to Jean Pascal in his very next fight 11 months later. He’s now won six of his last 10 fights, including five in a row, with two defeats and two draws.
Jack fought to a majority draw with Adonis Stevenson in a shot at the WBC Light Heavyweight Crown in May, 2018 and also drew with James DeGale over 12 rounds in January, 2017 in an IBF and WBC Super Middleweight Title tilt. The other draw was a 10-round affair with Marco Antonio Periban in September, 2013. meanwhile, Jack’s biggest career victories have been over Cleverly, George Groves, Lucian Bute, Anthony Dirrell and Rogelio Medina.
Jack stands 6-feet-1-inch tall with a 73-inch reach which gives him an inch in height over Makabu but a three-inch reach disadvantage. He’s a former Olympian who has boxed 208 rounds since making his pro debut back in 2009. Jack has a solid chin as well as plenty of heart and determination and carries around a current knockout ratio of 48.5 per cent. He has enough power to hurt and drop anybody and has stopped three of his last five opponents.
This bout features a power puncher in Makabu against a boxer/puncher in Jack but Makabu has gone the distance in three of his last four contests. Makabu may be 35 years old now but he’s still four years younger than Jack. This is likely the last shot at a world title for Jack and he’s going to have to let his hands go here as Makabu has been stopped in both of his losses. There’s no doubt Makabu possesses more power but Jack has the better boxing skills. As long as his chin holds up, I think Jack can do enough to add a world title belt in a third weight division this weekend.
This will likely be decided by Makabu’s power and Jack’s chin.
Play: Jack +140 @ BetOnline.ag
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