By Tom Donelson / Author, Member Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA)
On October 5, 2019 at Madison Square Garden, New York, Gennady Golovkin faced Sergey Derevyanchenko for the vacant IBF middleweight championship. Golovkin began the fight dropping Derevyanchenko in the first round and a left hook open up a cut over Derenyuanchenko and it look like this could be an early night for GGG and visions of a third Canelo Alvarez-GGG fight.
Derenyuanchenko sensing time was running out, came out fighting in the third round as he hit Golovkin from angles including body shots. This round saw Derenyuanchenko sending a message, “I am not done yet.”
During the fourth round, Golovkin landed a four punch combination by a left hook as he targeted his opponent cut but Derevyuanchenko showed great chin as he took this onslaught and landed a left right combo that for a brief moment stopped Golovkin in his track and during rounds, the doctor looked at Derevyanchenko’s eye but Derevyanchenko came out for the fifth and in the round, he nailed Golovkin with a left to the body and then landed a combination that stunned Golovkin near the end of the round. Referee broke up the action and that gave Golovkin quick moments to recover before the bell ended the round.
The sixth round saw Derevyanchenko swarmed all over Golovkin as he nailed the Triple G’s with body shots and while Golovkin countered with right hands, Dervyanchenko smacked Golovkin back with his own punches. Not even Alvarez pushed Golovkin like Dervyanchenko did in the sixth. As we approached the halfway mark, it was a tight fight and Golovkin found himself in a battle. Forget about Alvarez, Golovkin needed to win this fight and after an easy first two rounds in which he knocked down his opponent and cut him, he was now in a war.
Throughout the seventh round, Derevyanchenko threw crisp combinations but Golovkin landed big shots and this was his round as Derevyanchenko eyes was still bleeding. In between rounds the ring doctor reexamine the eye as the corner worked hard to stop the bleeding.
The eighth round was another Golovkin round in my estimation but Derevyanchenko scored as he maneuvered out of harm’s way on couple of times when it appeared that Golovkin had the advantage.
(During fights I do keep tabs on various sites and twitter and one of my favorites is Rosie Perez who is not only a good actor, but she is avid boxing fan who knows the sport. After eight rounds, she observed, “Derevyanchenko has better footwork and mobility than I thought going in. GGG is exhibiting a fine display of economical offenses and accurate power punching but he’s being outworked not necessarily out pointed.”)
The final four rounds proved tough for triple G and the fate of his future in boxing hanged in the balance Golovkin snapped Derevyanchenko head back with is jab but Derveyancheno was quick to counter in a round that was hard to judge and could have gone either way. Derevyanchko came out cracking in the tenth as he landed a flurry of punches and just like previous rounds, Derevyanchko countered whenever Golovkin landed his heavy shots.
Going into the championship rounds, the eleventh and the twelfth, Derevyanchko got inside and tried to push his way into triple G’s chest to force the action as his blood spattered over the both fighters. The last two rounds were close and could have been scored for either fighter.
This is the problem with this fight. It was close affair and the Compubox numbers show this. Golovkin connected on more punches in 6 of the 12 rounds while Derevyanchenko connected on more in punches in 5 of the rounds with one even. Golovkin connected on slightly more punches 243 to 230 and his connect percentage was slight higher, 34% to 31%. Golovkin was more effective with his jab and connected on a higher percentage of his power punches but Derevyanchenko threw more power punches and landed more.
Rosie Perez observed, that most ringside observers had the fight for Derevyanchenko, but she scored the fight 115-112 for triple G’S which is the same score I had but she noted that a 114-113 score would be fair as would a draw. When fans booed the decisions, she remarked, “Broke my heart they booed a great fighter. How quick and easy, fans turn on a great fighter,” and she added that there were fights that Triple G’s may have been robbed.
Golovkin looked old and even Rosie remarked how many shots he has taken in past fights and certainly in this fight as well. He looked like an older fighter and there were times that quite frankly that he would wilt but champions find ways to win.
Boxing fans have seen some great fights including the recent Porter-Spence fight and Tyson Fury who survived a severe cut to win 12 round decisions to maintain his lineal championship claim against Wallin. What boxing fans witnessed is what happens when promoters put great fighters against each other in the ring, they get to see great fights that create the excitement and increase the interest in other great fights down the road. In the heavyweight division along with welterweight and Middleweight division, there are some intriguing match ups worth getting excited about. Let hope that they happen.