ILUNGA MAKABU needed to hold on to his WBC cruiserweight belt to keep his dreams of fighting Canelo Alvarez alive. He did that when he outpointed Thabiso Mchunu at the W.D. Packard Music Hall in Warren, Ohio on Saturday (January 29).

Makabu only won the bout on a split decision, taking two cards on margins of 115-113 and 116-112, with the third judge scoring 115-113 for Mchunu. But whether that’ll be enough to snare a bout with Canelo, the global star of the sport, is quite another question.

Canelo’s trainer, Eddy Reynoso did raise the possibility of Alvarez moving all the way up to cruiserweight when he requested the WBC permit just such a move. But the great Mexican has a plethora of other options. He is the super-middleweight champion and could defend that status against David Benavidez or Jermall Charlo. He could move up one weight class, rather than two divisions, to light-heavyweight where any of the belt-holders would welcome a fight with him. He could still box Gennady Golovkin a third time.

“Today I didn’t come for the knockout,” Makabu said. “I just came to show that I can box. I am going to box and knock Canelo out in my next fight, baby.”

The WBA ludicrously had a ‘regular’ heavyweight on the line for Trevor Bryan’s bout with Jonathan Guidry on this Don King promoted bill. Bryan’s credentials are threadbare, he picked up the vacant ‘regular’ belt beating Bermane Stiverne, who hadn’t won a bout in six years. Guidry is an even worse opponent for an alleged championship. He’d never had a bout scheduled for more than eight rounds and has only had one fight since 2019.

But Bryan only beat him on a split decision. One judge scored 115-112 for Guidry, the other two had it 118-109 and 116-111 for Bryan.

“I am only going to get better and keep improving my skills. I worked until the final bell. I am taking my talents overseas. I am going to make those fights against the top three, which is Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, and Oleksandr Usyk. I deserve those fights,” Bryan reckons. “This is a stepping stone for me. Shout out to Jonathan Guidry. He was a tough opponent.”