Thursday, October 3, 2019

Golovkin And Derevyanchenko Prepare To Meet For Vacant Unified Middleweight World Championship

One of the central stories that dominated much of the Boxing spotlight from late 2018 until earlier this year was on which broadcast platform would former unified Middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin sign with following cable network Home Box Office’s (HBO) decision to exit broadcasting Boxing after forty-five years. A primary reason why this was of such interest in this was not only because Golovkin had been one of a handful of fighters that were under contract to HBO, but more specifically the desire of both fans and experts to see a third encounter between Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

As most Boxing fans know, Golovkin and Alvarez engaged in two hotly disputed fights that resulted in a draw in the first fight and a victory for Alvarez in the second encounter. Many fans and experts, this one included, felt that Golovkin had done enough to win both bouts. This along with the competitive nature of those fights in addition to what some feel was a controversial outcome in the second fight appeared to set up an ideal scenario for a third encounter between the two.

The question of where Gennady Golovkin’s broadcast home would be in the post-HBO era was answered as he signed a lucrative multi-fight contract with digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN earlier this year before returning to the ring to face undefeated Middleweight Steve Rolls in June at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY. Despite DAZN’s signing of Golovkin appearing to follow the scenario for a third fight with Saul Alvarez in addition to public demand as Alvarez almost immediately signed with DAZN last year following HBO’s formal announcement that it would be exiting the sport, a third fight between the two has yet to materialize.

Despite this, the politics of Boxing, which more often than not leaves itself open to criticism from the sport’s detractors, may in a round about way actually serve as a benefit for the fans who support the sport tirelessly. First, the element of politics that most would likely see as a negative. Following his victory over IBF Middleweight world champion Daniel Jacobs earlier this year in a unification bout, Saul Alvarez would be stripped of the IBF championship for not coming to terms for a would be a mandatory title defense against number one contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko.

While the circumstances are somewhat controversial due to Alvarez claiming that he was unaware of a deadline set by the IBF to reach an agreement with Derevyanchenko or be stripped of the championship, this may have a silver lining for both the fighters involved as well as the public. It was recently announced that Alvarez will move up two weight classes to challenge WBO Light-Heavyweight championship Sergey Kovalev on November 3rd. The situation regarding the IBF championship in the 160lb. Middleweight division will be resolved when Derevyanchenko meets Gennady Golovkin on October 5th for the vacant crown at Madison Square Garden.

The fight, which which will be broadcast in the United States by DAZN, will also have the vacant International Boxing Organization (IBO) world championship in the Middleweight division on the line in addition to the vacant IBF crown. This will give the winner of the bout status as a unified world champion just as Alvarez, who holds the World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Association (WBA) championships currently enjoys.

While some may believe that this fight is a step towards an eventual third fight between Alvarez and Golovkin, it is important to state that Sergiy Derevyanchenko is a former world title challenger and one of the top fighters in the Middleweight division. Some may recall Derevyanchenko’s previous opportunity at a world championship when he lost a close twelve round split decision to Daniel Jacobs in October of last year. Derevyanchenko was able to get back in the win column in his last fight by scoring a twelve round unanimous decision over Jack Culcay in April of this year.

Derevyanchenko gave Daniel Jacobs all he could handle and there are some who believe he had done enough to win the fight on the scorecards. Despite that fight being his only defeat, it is indisputable that Derevyanchenko will be an experience disadvantage compared to Golovkin in terms of both overall professional experience as well as experience at the top echelon of the sport.

What makes this fight intriguing in my eyes is like Golovkin, Derevyanchenko is a “Knockout Artist”, who has scored knockouts in ten of his thirteen career wins registering a career knockout percentage of nearly 72%. The key to the fight in my eyes for Derevyanchenko will be for him to get the respect of Golovkin early on. This, of course, has proven to be a difficult task for previous Golovkin opponents due to both Golovkin’s constant pressure style and his punching power. It is nevertheless crucial that Derevyanchenko get Golovkin’s respect if he hopes to have any success in this fight.

Although much of the focus that has surrounded the recent history of Gennady Golovkin has centered around whether or not a third fight between himself and Saul Alvarez will take place, it goes without saying that Golovkin must remain focused on the opponent that will be standing across the ring from him on fight night. In his last fight against Steve Rolls in June, Golovkin did have some difficulty against the previously undefeated fighter early on and did take some punishment before eventually knocking Rolls out in the fourth round.

It should not be overlooked that while Rolls was largely unknown prior to that fight, it was also Golovkin’s first fight under new trainer Jonathon Banks, who replaced longtime trainer Abel Sanchez and one of the stories that surrounded that fight revolved around what was a nasty split between Golovkin and Sanchez. Despite what could have been viewed as a distraction, Golovkin did take care of business against Steve Rolls and it will be interesting to see what changes if any Banks has been able to make to Golovkin’s style after having more time to work with his new charge.

In terms of what one should expect in this fight, it is difficult to say. Both fighters have shown an ability to box and both have the ability to score quick knockouts with either hand. Even though it can be at times a cliché to say, this fight may come down to who is able to take the initiative and execute their fight plan compared to their opponent.

It is indisputable that a story that will be hanging over this fight and any fight that involves Gennady Golovkin or Saul Alvarez will be whether or not the Boxing world will eventually get to see a third encounter between the two. While the possibility certainly exists that should Golovkin be successful in this fight and become a unified Middleweight world champion again that a third encounter would make even more sense as it would serve as a way to further unify the division, Golovkin much like Alvarez must focus on the opposition each has in their immediate futures. As we have seen in the recent history of the sport, all a fighter needs is one opportunity to upset the whole apple card and if a fighter is overlooked by an opponent that has their mind focused on what could potentially be ahead, any and all plans can change in an instant.

Throughout his illustrious history, Madison Square Garden has played host to many memorable nights and moments in the sport of Boxing. It remains to be seen whether or not those of us who cover the sport and fans will ultimately remember October 5, 2019, the day Gennady Golovkin and Sergiy Derevyanchenko squared off as the moment when a future Hall of Famer became a world champion once again or when a top contender was able to make the most out of his second chance at a world championship. It does have the makings of another memorable night in Madison Square Garden.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

Golovkin vs. Derevyanchenko takes place on Saturday, October 5th at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY. The fight as well as its full undercard can be seen in the United States and several international countries on digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN beginning at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT (U. S. Time.) For more information about DAZN including schedules, compatible streaming devices/platforms/smart TVs, availability around the world, and to subscribe please visit:

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the card can be seen on Sky Sports Main Event (formerly Sky Sports 1) beginning at 2 AM (Sunday, October 6th Local UK Time.) For more information about Sky Sports and availability in your area please visit: Check your local listings internationally.

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