Nobody involved in the event yet saw the need to panic.
Hall of Fame promoter Don King made light of the fact that Ilunga Junior Makabu was unavailable for the final pre-fight press conference ahead of his WBC cruiserweight title fight versus Noel Mikaelyan. The bout is due to headline a Pay-Per-View event this Saturday at Casino Miami Jai Alai in Miami, Florida.
Every other participant was on the dais to promote the show except for Makabu, a former titleholder who is apparently still en route from Johannesburg, South Africa.
“Makabu sent a breaking news call to me and said, ‘I’m going to be there.’ That’s all he told me,” insisted King.
Makabu (29-3, 25KOs) remains at the mercy of a visa issue which King insisted will be resolved in time for Saturday’s show to move forward in full form.
The 35-year-old Congolese southpaw will attempt to regain the WBC cruiserweight title he held for three years. He lost the belt in a 12th round knockout to Badou Jack this past February 26 in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. Jack became a three-division titlist with the feat but since vacated the belt to make a run in the WBC-exclusive Bridgerweight division.
Ironically, his opportunity to regain the belt comes versus the very challenger he sidestepped to instead face Jack.
Mikaelyan has served as mandatory challenger for more than a year but has not fought since last February. The Armenia-born, German boxer has waited this long for a fight with Makabu—or a title shot in general—and is fine with having to wait an extra day or two for his first staredown.
“I don’t care,” Mikaelyan said of Makabu’s absence. “The most important thing is that he’s here Saturday in the ring.
“If not, then I will be very disappointed.”
Makabu-Mikaelyan will air live on DonKing.com and Fite TV, beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET. The suggested retail price is $19.99 plus tax to purchase the pay-per-view event.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox