If former middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin had his way, this weekend’s return would’ve been a trilogy fight against Canelo Alvarez that would have gone down as the biggest fight of 2019.
How to watch
Date: Oct. 5, 2019 | Time: 9 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden — New York
Broadcast/Stream: Live (subscription required)
Actually, if we’re being honest, the fight would’ve already happened during Mexican Independence Day weekend in September like originally penciled in by everyone from fans, media, the promoters of both fighters and all-sports streaming app DAZN, which seemingly mortgaged its financial future to sign both fighters to monster deals and pull them off of pay-per-view.
Yet even with Golovkin (39-1-1, 35 KOs), the 37-year-old slugger from Kazakhstan, settling for a potentially explosive vacant IBF title bout on Saturday (DAZN, 9 p.m. ET) against Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10 KOs) for the title stripped from Alvarez, it remains difficult for GGG to be asked about anything but his biggest rival.
Golovkin and Alvarez shared the ring for 24 rounds of non-stop action over the past two years in thrilling fights that left many fans bitter at the draw and close decision win scored for Alvarez considering most felt GGG had done enough to win both. The war of words between the two then escalated to the point where Alvarez simply no longer wants anything to do with Golovkin, let alone fight him a third time or even speak his name.
“I don’t know, really, just ask him,” Golovkin told CBS Sports on Monday when asked why he’s not fighting Alvarez. “I’m ready, I’m still ready and I wanted this fight for this September because it’s a good deal and good for business and people. This is the biggest fight for us. I don’t know why, ask him.
“I don’t know why? His promoter said yes, he said no and this is a problem. Probably he has a problem with his promoter at this point. Right now is so bad that I don’t want to touch his side or his name because it’s so bad.”
Alvarez reportedly did have a breakdown in communication with his promoter (which ultimately led to him being stripped of the IBF title when a deadline to negotiate a deal with Derevyanchenko came and went). Yet the Mexican idol and biggest star in the sport stood firm on his decision to outright avoid Golovkin, citing reasons that included everything from his dislike of GGG to the fact that Golovkin brings nothing to the table in terms of a title for historic purposes.
That could change, of course, should Golovkin defeat Derevyanchenko to win the IBF strap less than a month removed from Alvarez’s Nov. 2 return against light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev in a fight that will see Alvarez move up two weight divisions.
Is Golovkin expecting the Alvarez trilogy to come next year if he wins? What about the potential that Alvarez will be an interested spectator on Saturday to find out when GGG makes his return to New York’s Madison Square Garden?
“I don’t know, it doesn’t matter for me,” Golovkin said. “I don’t want to touch him, I don’t want to touch his name or his promoter. It’s horrible for me. It’s just so bad.”
Lost in all of the Alvarez talk is just how tough of a matchup the 33-year-old Derevyanchenko presents on paper. The native of Ukraine pushed former titleholder Daniel Jacobs to the limit in a 2018 loss via split decision, the same fighter who some felt had done enough to beat GGG one year earlier (and gave Alvarez a tough fight in their May PPV date).
Golovkin said he watched Derevyanchenko’s fight with Jacobs closely and felt the fact that they shared a trainer (Andre Rozier, who chose to stay in Jacobs’ corner) prevented “The Technician” from coming out on top.
“If his coach stayed in Sergiy’s corner, maybe he would have won,” Golovkin said. “It was a 50-50 fight but to me, it was more like sparring and not a real fight because Daniel knows him for a long time. It was like a good sparring.
“I have known Sergiy for a long time [throughout the Kazakh and Ukranian amateur circuit]. This is a big chance for his team and not just for Sergiy. He is a very good fighter. I know and I understand it’s not an easy fight for us. Two titles, big chance, and nobody knows. I believe we will bring an amazing show.”
The fight will also be an important showcase for Golovkin to show the progress he has made entering his second fight with new trainer Johnathon Banks after parting ways with Abel Sanchez. Although GGG had seemingly little trouble in stopping unheralded Steve Rolls in June, it essentially amounted to a showcase fight and Golovkin appeared a step slower than normal.
“[Working with Banks] is completely different. Right now, I have more ideas,” Golovkin said. “It’s a new class, a new coach and a new teacher. I have different people in my team and I feel more comfortable. He spent a long time with [late Hall of Fame trainer] Emanuel Steward and he has so much good experience that is opening my eyes. I’m so excited.
“I think this is a big test for us for the year, for him and for me. I want to beat [Derevyanchenko].”
This card also features the return of super lightweight Ivan Baranchyk when he takes on the veteran Gabriel Bracero. Baranchyk is coming off a decision loss to Josh Taylor in the World Boxing Super Series junior welterweight semifinal in May but was undefeated in his career up until that fight. Bracero will be fighting for the first time since July 2018 where he scored a knockout over Artemio Reyes.
Also on the main card, Israel Madrimov takes on Alejandro Barrera in a clash of super welterweights. Marinov is 3-0 since turning pro in November 2018 and coming off a TKO win in June over Norberto Gonzalez.
|Gennadiy Golovkin -550 vs. Sergiy Derevyanchenko +400||Vacant middleweight title|
|Ivan Baranchyk vs. Gabriel Bracero||Junior welterweights|
|Israel Madrimov vs. Alejandro Barrera||Super welterweights|
Derevyanchenko certainly has the toughness and technical ability to make this a difficult fight for Golovkin, particularly if his advanced age and the fact that he got hit more than fans are accustomed to against Rolls begins to catch up with him.
The problem for Derevyanchenko, outside of having just 14 pro fights under his belt, is that it’s hard to gauge whether his success against Jacobs was an accurate representation of his abilities or was aided by the fact that they knew each other so well as former sparring partners. Derevyanchenko’s comeback win in April by close decision over Jack Culcay saw a much less impressive version of him emerge.
Golovkin has previously had trouble making adjustments against the precise aggression of Alvarez and the size and athleticism of Jacobs. But both of those fighters are established elites. Should Derevyanchenko prove to be just short of that threshold, he remains a fighter GGG should be able to outbox and control with his jab, even at 37.
If Derevyanchenko proves unable to bother or hurt the iron-chinned Golovkin this has a GGG decision written all over it, even if pockets of action break out from time to time. It should also be a fun fight. Source bycbssports.com