Gennady Golovkin returns to the ring this Saturday evening when he takes on Sergiy Derevyanchenko in New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden. The vacant IBF middleweight title is on the line, along with the less auspicious IBO title. For Golovkin, as good as it will feel to strap a couple of belts around his waist at the end of the evening, this is all about getting a win back at the top level.
Gennady, 37, was last seen dismissing Canada’s Steve Rolls in April. Rolls was unbeaten (19-0) but largely unknown and had not faced any notable opponents. That said, he was game and used his speed and youthful energy to cause a few issues for Golovkin in the early going. Once the Kazakh found his range it was all over for Rolls who was steamrolled in the fourth.
Seeing that Golovkin has been trying to box a little more under the tutelage of new coach Johnathon Banks, coupled with the fact that Derevyanchenko is tough enough to hang around, this might turn out to be a distance fight. Derevyanchenko pushed common opponent Danny Jacobs pretty close down the stretch of their October, 2018 fight in New York.
Golovkin is undeniably the puncher of the two, but Dereyanchenko has enough about him and a solid enough chin to potentially last the course. At 34 years of age, the Brooklyn-based Ukrainian has only had 14 fights (13-1). Golovkin, meanwhile, needs to put in a display that will impress his new DAZN paymasters, along with promoter Eddie Hearn. The beastly Kazakh will be required to make a statement that he is still a top fighter in the middleweight class.
“GGG” felt strongly that he won the first fight with Canelo (that ended as an official draw) and even bemoaned the judges’ verdict surrounding their second clash. Canelo has made it abundantly clear that he will not be entertaining the idea of a third fight. The Mexican loathes Golovkin, has also fallen out with his promoter Oscar De La Hoya and is moving up to box Sergey Kovalev at light-heavyweight. Even though DAZN signed Golovkin on a bumper contract, with the third Canelo fight inked in to the deal, Canelo himself has not acquiesced to such a move and would most likely be under no obligation to fight his rival.
This means that Golovkin will be searching for a new dance partner after Saturday night, should he get past Derevyanchenko. Billy Joe Saunders has moved up to super-middleweight and Jermall Charlo is signed with PBC so both could prove to be difficult men to get in to the ring. Either way, a highly professional competitor like Golovkin will not be looking past his current opponent.
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