Former WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew is very familiar with Ilunga Makabu, who may become the next opponent for Mexican superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.
Bellew captured the WBC title when he stopped Makabu inside of three rounds at Goodison Park back in 2016. Bellew himself was dropped hard in the first.
Makabu would eventually battle his way back to the WBC title.
And last week, during the WBC's convention in Mexico, Canelo made an official request, which the sanctioning body approved, to challenge Makabu for the cruiserweight strap.
Canelo is currently the undisputed world champion at super middleweight. To fight at cruiserweight, he would have to make a huge jump from a weight max of 168 to 200.
A victory would give Canelo a world title in his fifth weight class - after capturing titles at 154, 160, 168 and 175.
Bellew explained that Makabu will have to start much faster in order to beat someone like Canelo.
“Makabu likes to have a look and that’s why I tried to jump on him in our fight,” said Bellew to DAZN.
“He’s very relaxed in the early rounds because he wants to have a proper look at what’s in front of him then go to work in the later rounds. I wasn’t going to give him that opportunity and that’s why I started as quick as I did.
“Makabu has a high guard and dangerous left hand and he has to get that into play from the first bell. Canelo is going to come in heavy so he could lose some of what makes him special but Makabu will still be the bigger man and he has to make that count. His size can be a big asset but he has to use it from the moment the fight starts otherwise he’ll be playing catch up against the best fighter in the sport.”