SAN DIEGO, Calif., October 6, 2019 – The boos Gennadiy Golovkin heard raining down on him from fans at Madison Square Garden after his unanimous decision win was the hardest punch to the gut he took all night.
Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KOs) squeaked past Sergiy Derevyanchenko of Ukraine (13-2, 10 KOs) in a far tighter fight than expected. Scores were 115-112 X 2 and 114-113. Golovkin wins the vacant IBF world middleweight title he held before losing to Canelo Alvarez in their second fight. Alvarez vacated the title when he declined to fight mandatory challenger Derevyanchenko.
Now It looks like a wise decision by Alvarez and his team.
“Guys, come on,” said Golovkin to the crowd. “I want to say thank you so much my opponent. This is a great job. I respect his team. I told you, he is very good guy.
“Right now it’s bad day for me, it’s a huge day for Sergiy, his team. This is huge experience for me. Right now I know what I need exactly. I lost a little bit of focus. Sergiy was ready, I really respect him. He showed me such a big heart. I told him, Sergiy, this is best fight for me. It’s a huge experience. It’s maximum destroy. I just respect his team.”
It seemed GGG might have his way with The Technician, scoring a flash knockdown halfway through the first round. But it was the only easy round in the fight for Golovkin. Derevyanchenko and trainer Andre Rozier came with a smart game plan, and executed it just shy of perfection, if perfection is a victory.
Golovkin admitted later the knockdown rattled him. “I lost a little focus, first time. Sergiy was ready, respect.”
Derevyanchenko: Nothing to lose and nearly pulls off the win
By contrast, it lit a fire under the Ukrainian. “When I started moving, I felt like I was giving him room and getting hit with those looping shots. That’s why I started taking the fight to him and getting closer.
“He hit me in the back of the head, he hit me behind the ear,”explained Derevyanchenko. “I didn’t see the punch, but it really didn’t affect me that much (the knockdown). “I got up and I wasn’t really hurt, so I continued to fight. It was nothing too bad.”
Derevyanchenko wanted the win and it showed in his work rate and sheer determination. Once he settled into the right range, he targeted the body of Golovkin with effective shots, perhaps the best body work against Golovkin in his career. It forced Golovkin to step back out of the way, forcing him to reset repeatedly. Combined with the effect of the shots, it slowed Golovkin’s punch rate down.
Meanwhile, Derevyanchenko was the man with nothing to lose, willing to take a shot to land one. Golovkin delivered good upper cuts, followed by right and left hooks to the head. One of those left hooks in the second round opened up a cut over Derevyanchenko’s left eye. It was incorrectly ruled an accidental head butt by referee Harvey Dock.
But the cut was kept under control well enough to let the fight go to the scorecards. After the first round, the firefight was one. Derevyanchenko is only three years younger than the 37-year-old Golovkin; he will turn 34 on Halloween. He put a serious scare into the veteran middleweight champion.
Derevyanchenko was faster on the trigger and more active. When Golovkin could get Derevyanchenko in front of him in a position he liked he landed solid right and left hooks, sometimes off a lead jab but at other times off nice upper cuts. But with Derevyanchenko focusing on body shots, Golovkin wasn’t eager to come in for those upper cuts and leave himself open.
In the last third of the fight, Golovkin was visibly drawing deep breaths, and he looked more fatigued than in any previous fight. Several hours after the bout’s conclusion, promoter Tom Loeffler confirmed the rumor circulating that Golovkin was fighting with a cold he’d caught earlier in the week, but never considered cancelling the fight. This is reminiscent of his battle with Gabriel Rosado in 2013, a bloody fight he won while suffering with the flu.
Rozier told the challenger after the ninth round, “It’s your time, champ. Whose time is it? Don’t wait for him. Give me numbers now. You gotta use your jab.”
In Golovkin’s corner, trainer Johnathon Banks was pushing Golovkin to let his hands go. But he did so at risk of taking too much punishment to a body apparently weakened by illness.
Close scorecards disappointed Derevyanchenko and his team
Rounds were edge of your seat close. The judges agreed on the first, seventh, and 12th round for Golovkin, and gave the fifth to Derevyanchenko. They split on the remaining eight rounds, and with the first round obvious, it means the vast majority of those rounds were seen and scored based on the narrowest of margins.
Derevyanchenko landed 230 of 738 punches (31.2 percent), more than any other Golovkin opponent in 25 fights tracked by CompuBox. Golovkin landed 243 of 720 punches (33.8 percent). Derevyanchenko landed 183 power punches, compared to 136 for GGG; Golovkin dominated in jabs with 107 landed versus 47 for The Technician. Both were within five punches landed on each other in nine of the 12 rounds.
But if you ask yourself who you’d rather be at the final bell before getting the decision, the answer was Derevyanchenko. The scores weren’t a robbery, but they were a surprise.
“I’m just really gutted for a blood and guts warrior who I truly believe was deprived of his moment tonight,” said Derevyanchenko’s promoter, Lou DiBella.
Golovkin’s future: the three viable options
When asked whether he still wants a third fight with Canelo Alvarez, Golovkin replied, “100 percent.” But he admitted he needed more focus and more experience, and there were other great champions as an option. Including a rematch with Derevyanchenko? “Absolutely. Look, there are so many great champions here.” As disgruntled fans resumed booing, Golovkin said, “Everything’s ready, just a call from Canelo. If he says yes, let’s do it.”
Derevyanchenko deserve a rematch, but Golovkin will need to carefully reassess his future. If age and mileage are catching up with him, cashing out on a third fight with Alvarez may make sense. If illness was to blame for Golovkin’s lack of stamina and he believes he can improve in a rematch, fans wouldn’t mind it. But if Golovkin goes a third direction and decides to retire as a champion, no one should criticize him for the decision.
Fans would do well to remember what these men and women athletes in combat sports go through in training and during a fight for nothing more than our weekend entertainment. No one deserved any catcalls, especially not Gennadiy Golovkin after giving 100 percent every time he stepped in the ring over a career of action-packed fights including 34 impressive knockouts.
Golovkin may have lost the fight in their eyes, but no one in the seats at Madison Square Garden got less than 12 action packed, entertaining rounds for their money. #RespectBox
The remainder of the card went much as predicted.
Israil “The Dream” Madrimov gives opponents nightmares
With a solid first-round knockdown on a smashing left hook to the head, Israil “The Dream” Madrimov looked to make it an early night against Alexander Barrera. Barrera proved his toughness by getting up and taking Madrimov a little deeper into their scheduled ten-round fight.
But the younger, fresher Madrimov (4-0, 4 KOs) was just too much for Barrera (29-6, 18 KOs). By the fifth round, Barrera was breathing hard and taking hard shots to the head and the body from Madrimov. With 24 seconds left in the round, Benjy Esteves watched Barrera take another hard left hook to the head, and it was enough for him to waive off the fight.
“I’m going to follow Gennadiy Golovkin’s path and bring the same excitement to the ring,” said Madrimov. “I knew excactly who I’m fighting. I knew he was tough, he’s only been stopped once by Errol Spence Jr. I wanted to stop him in five or six rounds. I knew I was going to take some punches to make him tired and that’s exactly what happened. When I felt there was no power, I knew I could take him out,” said Madrimov. “I knew that Spence stopped him, I knew people would compare … I wanted to stop him and it doesn’t matter when it happened.”
Barrera has faced top opposition, with losses to Carlos Adames, Errol Spence Jr., and Keandre Gibson. His experience showed and was a solid test for Madrimov. He gets extra credit finishing off the win with his trademark back flip plus a bonus flip after the interview, giving Teofimo Lopez a run for his money. After just four fights with an impressive amateur background, you’ll see Madrimov move up quickly in the super welterweight division. “I came to this sport to be a sensation; let’s make a sensation. Whoever takes the fight, a 154 (pound) champion, let’s make the fight,” said Madrimov.
Ivan Baranchyk and Gabriel Bracero deliver a four-round firefight
Super lightweight Ivan Baranchyk of Oklahoma via Belarus (20-1, 13 KOs) and Gabriel Bracero of Brooklyn (25-4-1, 6 KOs) delivered nonstop action for four wild rounds for the Garden crowd. Baranchyk was coming off a loss in the World Boxing Super Series against Josh Taylor in a competitive fight five months ago. He had something to prove to himself and came right at Bracero from the opening bell. The veteran Bracero was a willing dance partner. The pair traded shots and weren’t above playing a little dirty. Referee Arthur Mercante Jr. warned Bracero about the rough tactics in the fourth round.
On the heels of the warning as Bracero stepped back into the action midway into the round, Baranchyk delivered a left hook to the body, immobilizing Bracero, followed up by a hard jab and right hand to put Bracero on the canvas. Bracero got up, but his corner wisely saw the end coming for the 38-year-old and had the fight stopped at 1:30 of the fourth round.
“The Beast is back! This is my message to everybody,” said a smiling Baranchyk. “It was very important for me to get a good opponent, and I’m back.” Asked who he’d like next, Baranchyk continued to smile, saying, “We’ll see.” It was the first time Bracero had ever been stopped, and exactly what Baranchyk needed to put himself back into the mix at the top of the 140-pound division.
Ali Akhmedov sends Andrew Hernandez home early
If you were late getting into your seat at the start of super middleweight Ali Akmedov’s bout with Andrew Hernandez, you missed it. Akmedov of Kazahkstan (16-0, 12 KOs) took out Hernandez by knockout in 44 seconds. Hernandez (20-8-2, 9 KOs) of Phoenix, who took Patrick Texieira and Caleb Plant the distance in losses, had nothing to offer Ahkmedov. Akhmedov is now based In Las Vegas and has only been fighting in the U.S. since August 2019, although he’s had five fights since then. He is still introducing himself to the general boxing audience. It’s time now for him to step up to more challenging opposition so fans can get a look at him.
Undercard results: Deballo, Szeremeta, Abibiy win; Joe Ward’s debut goes haywire
Welterweight Brian Ceballo of New York (11-0, 6 KOs) continues to deliver flashy, fan-pleasing wins like Saturday’s third-round TKO against Ramal Amanov from Azerbaijan now training in Miami (16-1, 5 KOs). Ceballo works with a smart variety of punches, and when he gets an opponent in trouble as he did with Amanov, he doesn’t go wild with ineffective punches. Instead, Ceballo plays things smart, delivering hard body punches and using the ring’s real estate to pin Amanov in place against the ropes where he can make his shots count. Ceballo fights in a competitive division with many rising stars and terrific matchups. Fans should be seeing Ceballo in entertaining fights for years to come.
Undefeated Polish middleweight Kamil Szeremeta (21-0, 5 KOs) made it a quick night with a second-round TKO win over journeyman Oscar Cortes of Mexico (27-5, 14 KOs). Szeremeta isn’t known for his power, but he looked solid. Time for him at age 29 to test himself against a bigger name in the division.
Middleweight prospect Nikita Ababiy of Brooklyn (7-0, 6 KOs) took care of his business in short order, knocking out Isiah Seldon of New Jersey (13-3, 4 KOs) in the first round. Ababiy is just 20 years old with plenty of raw talent. He’s got a carefree, fun-loving personality, and if he can put everything together, he’ll be a boxing star for the next two decades.
Joe Ward’s professional debut was every athlete’s worst nightmare. One minute into the second round, the Irish light heavyweight fell back and dislocated his knee when opponent Marco Delgado of Anaheim stepped on the southpaw’s foot, a common occurrence in fights between orthodox and southpaw fighters. Ward was immobilized and in pain. The ringside physician popped the dislocated knee back into place enough for Ward to leave the ring.
Delgado was awarded the win by TKO. Promoter Lou DiBella originally said he would not appeal, but later said he didn’t think it was permitted. Learning he would be able to lodge a protest, DiBella said he would try to get the right ruled a no contest, which seems the right thing to do.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
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