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Sergiy Derevyanchenko looks to leave mark on sport against Golovkin

Serhiy Derevianchenko is a highly decorated amateur, who was fast-tracked in the professional realm of boxing after hundreds of amateur bouts getting a world title shot in merely his thirteenth fight. In fact, Derevianchenko has only fourteen fights and 81 rounds under his belt as a pro, with his lone loss being to his teammate, Daniel Jacobs in a fight for the vacant IBF middleweight title.

On Saturday, Derevianchenko gets his second world title shot, this time against Gennady Golovkin, a polarizing figure, who at his height was one of the bigger names boxing in the middle of this decade, but has seen his star fade after a loss to Canelo Alvarez and moving to the DAZN platform, an upstart platform that hasn’t fully gotten to where they hope to be. 

This is Derevianchenko’s chance to leave a mark as a pro.

That being said, Gennady Golovkin is an all-time great, despite the fact that his fans, might be a bit tough to take at times, Golovkin’s power is generational, and to keep him at bay for a twelve round fight is not easy. 

How’d did Derevianchenko get here? 

Well, Derevianchenko stopped Tureano Johnson to become the mandatory challenger for the IBF middleweight title in a fight Derevianchenko and Johnson just beat each other up in, with Derevianchenko stopping Johnson in the twelfth round. Derevianchenko took a stay-busy fight beating the tough Dashon Johnson, a fighter whose record doesn’t reflect his skill, but then came the ultimatum.

Derevianchenko was made the IBF middleweight title mandatory after “Canelo” Alvarez failed a drug test for his May 2018 bout with Gennady Golovkin. Golovkin was mandated to fight Derevianchenko, but ended up opting for Vanes Martirosyan, which lead the IBF stripped Golovkin of his world title and the end of Golovkin’s hopes of unifying the middleweight division. 

Daniel Jacobs late-last year defeated Derevianchenko to win this very belt, and Jacobs parlayed that bout into a highly profitable Canelo fight on Cinco de Mayo weekend. Jacobs ultimately lost that bout against Canelo.

Despite losing a split decision to Jacobs, Derevianchenko retained his number one contender spot as he faced the number two contender, Jack Culcay of Germany for the right to fight for the title, again. Despite a rough twelfth round, Derevianchenko beat the experienced amateur turned pro and now had another world title shot guaranteed. 

Meanwhile, Canelo moved up to light heavyweight to face Sergey Kovalev, and despite just winning the title was relinquished of the title, meaning it was now vacant. 

So, Derevianchenko the number one contender and Golovkin the number three contender, who may have been promoted to number two by the IBF, will face this Saturday in Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, for IBF middleweight world title that has been hot potato’ed around over the past two years. 

So does Derevianchenko have a chance?

The short answer is yes. Both fighters have known each other since teenagers, and though not close friends, they both have respect for each other and have known each other for seemingly decades. Derevianchenko is a fighter who has never quite lived up to his billing as a pro at the elite level, but has the pedigree, most superstar boxers dream of, on top of that, Derevianchenko has the more together team of the two.

Derevianchenko spent his camp in San Carlos, Ca, training at the SNAC System private training facility, at the nutrition companies headquarters, with Victor Conte consulting the team, the owner of SNAC, along with his coach Andre Rozier and a slew of very good fighters like Edgar Berlanga. 

Golovkin recently left his longtime coach, Abel Sanchez, who has a rigid way of viewing boxing, that is more offensive orientated. That orientation propelled Golovkin into stardom with dramatic knockout finishes. In Golovkin’s first bout with Jonathan Banks, Golovkin looked old, slow and confused. It could be father time, it could be adapting to a new style and it could be that Golovkin is making essentially eight-figures per fight on DAZN, but one thing is for sure, Golovkin isn’t the guy from 2013-2015.

Speaking of the salary, the build-up has been – nearly non-existent. Golovkin, who was known for going on every media outlet has been more reclusive than ever, as only vetted media now get access to him prior to fight week, and hardly any promotional stuff came across my digital life, in the past few weeks. It could be that Errol Spence versus Shawn Porter over-delivered in terms of action, but geez this fight is happening to a ho-hum sort of buzz. 

Working with new promoters, Matchroom, and a new network, Golovkin’s star power will be on full display, because for all the bad that was HBO, they had a machine and formula that knew how to generate buzz. Golovkin seems to be a major apex of DAZN’s boxing future as they bet on him to bring in people to the network, as well as potentially a Golovkin versus Canelo trilogy bout that seems doomed now, and well, now it is time for us to see how big of a draw Golovkin truly is.

As DAZN’s model is an up-front fee of $100 for a year or $20-a-month, meaning they’re trying an upfront, yearly pay-per-view plan, as opposed to a pay per event model of PPV. The big thing needed is people as the plan is terrific in theory, and a deal for the fans, but it needs a buy-in from the general public to make a profit.

That being said, this is one of the better bouts that Golovkin has been in, since Canelo and Jacobs, his two most notable bout. Derevianchenko has all the things that have troubled Golovkin in the past which is staying on the backfoot along with power, ten of Derevianchenko’s thirteen wins have come by way of KO, and pedigree, essentially 200-300 amateur fights.

The big thing is; Golovkin at his height was a narrative draw, a fighter who said charming things and compelled people to watch based on him trying to assimilate American culture. In the build-up to this fight it feels like a legendary rock band going on tour to play the classics with little motivation.

Even as I type this, it is hard to sell you on why you should watch Sergiy Derevianchenko in terms of competition element and that this is pure sport, but is that enough.

One concern I have is that in two of Derevianchenko’s last three bouts he has been hurt and/or dropped. Jacobs dropped him in their title clash, and Culcay had Derevianchenko badly hurt in the final round of their bout. This is concerning when facing a legendary puncher.

Oh, and do people watch DAZN?

I hate to be “Debbie Downer”, but a lot of DAZN’s fights don’t trend on our website and outside of the loyal and passionate boxing fans, it just feels like outside of the big three of Canelo, Golovkin, and Joshua, fights on DAZN, only get seen by hardcore fans. I get it, HBO and Showtime had the same issue, the problem working against DAZN, is the fact that it is new. That means new barriers to entry, including fight fans having to use the DAZN website and then be able to stream it to a television screen, something that seems to have a learning curve for many. DAZN hopes to be pioneers, but an old adage says “…the plains are filled with the bodies of pioneers”, and we have to wonder if DAZN is the brilliant visionary, or in over their head. 

This event, between two great competitors, should serve as an enjoyable weekend bout with a solid undercard to boot on October 5th from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, on DAZN, will show a lot about all of those involved futures. 

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle