One of the marquee attractions of what was billed as “Two Pay-Per-View Cards In One” that took place on September 26th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT was the Middleweight encounter between undefeated top contender and former IBF Jr. Middleweight world champion Jermall Charlo and former two-time world title challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko. While the concept of the pay-per-view, as well as the second main event of the card will be covered in separate upcoming material here on The Boxing Truth®️ over the upcoming week, the first main event did bring two of the top Middleweights in the world together for what on paper had all the makings of a closely fought battle.
As readers who read the preview this observer penned last week discussing the pay-per-view doubleheader know, this fight had an interim championship designation at stake in the World Boxing Council’s (WBC) Middleweight ratings due to current WBC world champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez being designated as a “Franchise Champion “ due to his desire to fight between the 160lb. Middleweight and 175lb. Light-Heavyweight divisions depending on opportunities that may be available to him both in terms of marquee fights as well as the lucrative incentives they could bring. Although the political aspects of the sport often do not lend favorably upon those top contenders who are seeking an opportunity against a fighter in Alvarez’ position, this fight also had the potential for the winner to set themselves up for lucrative opportunities against other top stars in the Middleweight division as well as top positioning in the division should Alvarez ultimately vacate his standing as a Middleweight.
In previewing this fight, I stated that I felt it was crucial for Derevyanchenko to implement a body attack on Charlo. This proved to be a difficult task as Charlo was able to keep Derevyanchenko on the outside in the early rounds of the fight by using his near 74” reach and three inch height advantage to land offense as Derevyanchenko as he came forward. A focal point of that offense for Charlo during this period of the bout was his jab and more specifically his ability to be accurate with it.
It was this approach that allowed Charlo to dictate the tempo of the combat through much of the first half of the fight. As the fight progressed however, Derevyanchenko was able to make gradual adjustments, most notably, his approaching and attacking Charlo at angles as opposed to coming straight forward. This allowed Derevyanchenko opportunities to get on the inside of his taller and longer opponent. In some ways, this bout resembled Derevyanchenko’s fight against Gennady Golovkin in the sense that once Derevyanchenko was able to implement a body attack, the dynamic of the fight changed. When the fight was fought in close on the inside, there were several heated exchanges of offense between the two fighters, but one aspect of offense that worked well for Derevyanchenko in the middle rounds was how he was able to land a left hook to the body followed by a left hook to the head.
While Derevyanchenko had trouble implementing this aspect of his attack consistently as the fight moved into the later rounds, it was this combination along with his overall approach that seemed to allow him to make up ground in the middle rounds on the scorecards in my mind. A competitive fight from start to finish where both fighters were able to have their moments throughout and with both men having their ability to recover while hurt tested throughout, made the encounter the entertaining battle that many thought it would be.
Although this observer felt this was a close fight that I ended up scoring a draw at the end of the twelve round bout, it did not turn out that way on the official scorecards as all three judges scored the fight for Charlo by significant margins. In many cases when it comes to fights that are viewed as close from outside observers, but differ significantly from the three official judges tasked with scoring a fight, it will often come down to interpretation as to how one sees w fight.
A commonality between this fight and Sergiy Derevyanchenko’s two previous losses to Daniel Jacobs and Gennady Golovkin was that Derevyanchenko did not get the nod from the judges in the early rounds, but stepped up his pace as those bouts progressed and managed to make up ground on the scorecards. While in some was this fight was similar to those fights, Derevyanchenko was unable to win any of the first five rounds on the official scorecards, which put him at a significant deficit to overcome on the scorecards. It is also important to keep in mind that Charlo was also able to win some rounds over the second half of the fight and with Derevyanchenko unable to score any knockdowns that would have narrowed the margin on the official scorecards, it is understandable how the three official judges arrived with wider scores than yours truly did in an unofficial capacity. While there is no argument that Charlo had the upper hand over the first half of the fight, I did not feel he swept the first five rounds and that along with Derevyanchenko’s success in the second half of the bout was how I arrived with a draw when all was said and done.
With the victory, Jermall Charlo maintains his position in the Middleweight division. Whether or not Charlo could be a potential opponent for Saul “Canelo”Alvarez remains unclear due largely to the various business and political aspects involved, which unfortunately play a role in what fights get made and when. Charlo’s stock however, has gone up with this victory over Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Based on how competitive the fight between the two was as well as obstacles that could be made in a relatively short time, the possibility exists for a rematch between the two to take place down the line. We will have to see what the landscape of the division looks like heading into 2021 with the element of COVID-19 also likely to continue to overshadow things.
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