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Ilunga Junior Makabu looks to defend his WBC cruiserweight title against Badou Jack on Sunday. Johnny Covers breaks down the bout.

Ilunga Makabu vs. Badou Jack Prediction: Who Will Dominate This Cruiserweight Title Fight?

In the co-main event of the Jake Paul vs. Tommy Fury pay-per-view on ESPN, Ilunga Junior Makabu will defend his WBC cruiserweight title against Badou Jack on Sunday in Saudi Arabia. Although this co-main event involves two seasoned boxers who are very much fighting at the peak of their extended careers, the defending champion is extremely certain that he will be far too much for his challenger.

The 35-year-old Jack (27-3-3, 16 KO), a former super middleweight champion and secondary light heavyweight champion, simply won't be able to handle the power of Makabu's offense, according to Makabu (29-2, 25 KO), a true cruiserweight who has spent practically his entire, nearly 15-year career in the division.

Let's take a closer look at the less talked about but most legitimate bout on Saturday's card.

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Ilunga Makabu vs. Badou Jack Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

When: Sunday, February 26, 2023,

Time: 1:30 a.m. ET / 11:30 p.m. PT

Where: Diriyah Arena, Riyad, Saudi Arabia

Where to Watch: ESPN+

Click here for Makabu vs. Jack odds

Ilunga Makabu vs. Badou Jack Prediction

Iluna Makabu (29-2-0, 25 KOs)

For nearly ten years, Makabu (29-2, 25 KOs) has been a mainstay in the cruiserweight division. It's a good thing the southpaw power puncher has a solid chin and a great left hand because it takes him some time to get going. Despite his recent performance being below par compared to the caliber of his body of work, he hasn't lost since a shocking setback to Tony Bellew in 2016.

The Congolese banger averages 4.93 rounds per fight and has an 80.65% knockout percentage. Jack is a similar slow starter, so Makabu will have to hope that ring rust won't be an issue as he has only competed four times in the past three years.

Badou Jack (27-3-3, 16 KOs)

A few years ago, Jack (27-3-3, 16 KO) was known as a fearless fighter, but he has seen better days. His two brief reigns at super middleweight and light heavyweight seem to have happened a long time ago, and after a bloody fight with Adonis Stevenson in 2018, he hasn't been the same. After dropping his next two battles, Jack drastically reduced the level of opposition he faced. He will attempt to win another world title on Sunday, and start a comeback tour not seen by many in the sport's history.

Jack could have a shot to succeed if he can summon some magic from the later years of his career. The Swedish fighter fights for an average of 6.3 rounds and has a 48.4% knockout rate, all while facing some of the best in the division.

Ilunga Makabu vs Badou Jack Pick

If this fight were five years ago, I’d think it’d be much closer than it likely will be on Sunday in Ryiad. While both of these guys are known to start slow, I haven’t seen anything from Jack as of late to think he’ll ever really get going.

Pick: Ilunga Makabu ML (-220) Bet $100 to collect $145 Get the best odds at DraftKings, click here to bet

Click here to see the latest betting odds for Iluna Makabu vs Badou Jack

How To Bet On Ilunga Makabu vs Badou Jack

Now that you have the low down on Iluna Makabu vs Badou Jack, let’s take a closer look at the best promos for you to get in on the action.

Article Author


Johnny has been covering the sports betting markets and handicapping games for the better part of the past decade. Along the way, he has written for publications such as All-In Magazine, Blitz Predict, FantasyPros, Betting Pros, Sportsbook Review, and most recently, OddsChecker. In addition to giving out picks on Twitter, Johnny is the host of the podcast The Daily Sports Bet -- a 10 minute or less listen with actionable insights and no fluff or BS. Starting the podcast in June, he closed out 2021 up 26 units with a winning percentage of 55%.


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