Golovkin vs Derevyanchenko Preview
By Thomas Cathey
Former unified champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin will attempt to regain the vacant IBF middleweight title tonight, when he squares off against the once-beaten Sergiy Derevyanchenko at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The fight will be Golovkin’s second on the DAZN streaming platform.
Golovkin (39-1-1, 35 KO) is coming off of a fourth round KO victory over the relatively unheralded Steve Rolls in June, which was also staged at the “Mecca of Boxing”. The bout against Rolls was Golovkin’s first in his six-fight contract he signed with DAZN earlier this year.
At some point during Golovkin’s stint with DAZN, it is expected that he’ll eventually meet rival Saul “Canelo” Alvarez for a highly anticipated rubber match. Capturing another world title would almost certainly bring him one step closer to the third fight with Alvarez.
However, Alvarez has other business to attend to in the light heavyweight division. On Nov. 2, he’ll be moving up two weight classes to challenge WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. If successful against Kovalev, Alvarez would become a 4-division world champion.
Regardless of whether or not he can get the job done against Kovalev, Alvarez has stated that he plans to return to the middleweight division and defend his WBA title there. If both Golovkin and Alvarez keep winning fights, a third showdown between the two combatants would be inevitable, although Alvarez has expressed disinterest in going through another ugly promotion with Golovkin.
In the meantime though, Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10 KO) waits in the wings for “GGG”. The Ukranian pugilist is coming off of a 12-round decision victory over Germany’s Jack Culcay in April. The win over Culcay made Derevyanchenko the mandatory challenger for the IBF world title.
Despite only having 14 fights, the fight against Golovkin is not Derevyanchenko’s first world title opportunity. In October of last year, Derevyanchenko challenged for the vacant IBF world title against Brooklyn’s Daniel Jacobs. Unfortunately for Derevyanchenko, he came up short against Jacobs, losing via split decision.
In May of this year, Jacobs attempted to unify world titles against Alvarez in one of the biggest boxing events of 2019. Alvarez outpointed Jacobs via unanimous decision to lift the IBF title from Jacobs.
Ideally, this would have set up a fight between Derevyanchenko and Alvarez, as Derevyanchenko had beaten Culcay to earn the mandatory challenger spot a month earlier. Sure enough, the IBF ordered the fight to take place, giving both fighters and their teams a deadline to negotiate a deal for a fight.
After weeks of negotiating, both parties were unable to come to an agreement. For Alvarez to keep his IBF world title, he would have had to defend against Derevyanchenko. But since the deal fell through, Alvarez was stripped of the IBF championship, prompting him and his team to go after Kovalev.
Since Golovkin is ranked at no. 3 in the IBF, he was next up for the title opportunity along with Derevyanchenko. Golovkin lost the IBF belt as well as his WBA/WBC titles when he fought Canelo in a rematch in September of last year.