Iluna Makabu vs Badou Jack Picks and Predictions: Makabu Outclasses Jack "The Ripper"

Illuna Makabu isn’t getting any younger, but the 35-year-old still possesses all the tools he’ll need to pull off a win against Badou Jack on Sunday at Diriyah Arena. Find out more in our Makabu vs. Jack betting picks.

Last Updated: Feb 23, 2023 11:24 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Boxing Glove
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Ilunga Makabu will defend his WBC cruiserweight title against former two-division champion Badou Jack as the featured undercard attraction on Saturday in Saudi Arabia, ahead of the Jake Paul vs. Tommy Fury main event.

Makubu hopes to extend his title reign at the expense of Jack, who is looking to seek a title in a third weight class. Boxing odds favor Makabu at -204 to retain his title, while Jack is a minor underdog at +146. 

Here are our betting picks and predictions for Makabu vs. Jack on Sunday, February 26.

Ilunga Makabu vs Badou Jack odds

Method of victory Ilunga Makabu Badou Jack
Win outright -200 +150
Win by KO/TKO +220 +550
Win by points or decision +162 +300
Draw +1,200 +1,200

Odds courtesy of bet365 as of February 23, 2022.

Iluna Makabu vs Badou Jack betting predictions

Picks made on February 23. Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

Best boxing bonuses

Looking to bet on boxing? Here are two of the best bonuses* available:

A) New users at FanDuel can get a no-sweat first bet of up to $1,000! Sign Up Now

B) New users at DraftKings can bet $5 and get $200 in free bets! Sign Up Now

*Eligible USA locations only. Also, check out our full list of best sportsbook promotions for 2023.
21+. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER

Ilunga Makabu vs Badou Jack betting preview

The cruiserweight division is primarily composed of fighters who are either too small to compete at heavyweight or are too old to compete at light heavyweight. This title bout is an example of the former and the latter.

Makabu (29-2, 25 KOs) has been a staple of the cruiserweight division for close to a decade. The southpaw power puncher takes some time to get his motor running, so it’s good he’s armed with a great left hand and a strong chin. His recent form has left something to be desired with the quality of his body of work, but he remains undefeated ever since a 2016 upset loss to Tony Bellew.

The Congolese banger has an 80.65% knockout percentage and an average fight time of 4.93 rounds. Makabu will face a similar slow-starter in Jack, but he’ll have to hope ring rust isn’t an issue as he has only fought four times over the last three years.

Jack (27-3-3, 16 KO) had the reputation of being a gutsy fighter a few years ago, but he’s seen better days. His two brief reigns at super middleweight and light heavyweight feel like they happened ages ago, and he hasn’t been the same since a violent war with Adonis Stevenson in 2018. Jack would go on to lose his next two fights and has since scaled back his level of competition in a big way. Somehow, he’s on the docket for another world title shot on Sunday.

If Jack can conjure up some late-career magic, he might have a chance to pull it off. The Swede has a 48.4% knockout rate and an average fight time of 6.3 rounds. He’s faced several great fighters over the years and is incredibly tough to stop.

Jack “The Ripper” was never a big puncher, to begin with. Entering a new weight class at age 39, he’s going to need to rely on his experience and skills to pull this one off.

Ilunga Makabu vs Badou Jack boxing prediction and best bet

Prediction: Makabu ML

I’m going to admit that I thought Jack had retired.... only to have hoped he did after watching his last few fights. Makabu won’t fare well against the true elite of the cruiserweight class, and lucky for him, Jack stopped fighting at a high-level years ago.

A slow starter with discernable punching power and declining reflexes, Jack doesn’t have a lot to offer for those fishing for an upset. When Makabu got laid out by Bellew, the Brit was already a notoriously hard puncher that drained himself to make light heavyweight.

Though there are times when Makabu allows himself to get outworked and can be lazy defensively, Jack has neither the pop nor the zip to exploit that. Expect Makabu to score the win at the aging Jack’s expense.

Prediction: Makabu moneyline (-200 at bet365)

Best Bet: Makabu ML

Makabu hits hard, but Jack is stubbornly tough to hurt. If he could go through the bombs Stevenson landed — or make it 12 rounds with a forehead gash a la Friday the 13th as he did against Marcus Browne — he’ll survive Makabu.

Expect a methodical fight as both men are known to be slow starters. Our best bet is Makabu working through his ring rust and normal slow pace to outbox Jack.

Prediction: Makabu moneyline (-200 at bet365)

Pages related to this topic

Popular Content

Legal Canadian sports betting

Best Canadian betting sites Ontario sports betting
Covers 25 Years Logo Established in 1995,
Covers is the world
leader in sports
betting information.
Covers is verified safe by: Evalon Logo GPWA Logo GDPR Logo GeoTrust Logo Evalon Logo