A night of knockouts filled Madison Square Garden on the undercard of Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (40-1-1, 35KOs) vs Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10KOs). The action, although exciting on the undercard, could not compare to the main event. As usual this fight had multiple big moments and could be broken down into three parts: the first two rounds, the middle rounds, and the final two rounds. Let’s dive into what could be another fight of the year contender.
Rounds 1 & 2
A few moments of feeling each other out and then boom, this one took off. Both men were trying to land big shots. GGG was able to land a few shots in succession and then a heavy right sent Sergiy to the canvas. Some were questioning if the shot came behind the head but based on how Sergiy was moving it could not be avoided. With that GGG went to the second round up 10-8 on the scorecards. As both men worked in the second round a cut appeared to open on Derevyanchenko’s eye. This could have been way worse with it opening so early. Sergiy was working well but his shots were not landing flush. Going into round three GGG was up, as he won each of the first two rounds due ro a knockdown and damage inflicted alone.
The cut seemed to motivate Sergiy to increase the tempo and pressure, knowing at any moment a cut can end a fight. He began to work the body of GGG which caused a few problems. By the middle rounds they had ruled the cut to be from a headbutt and not a punch, which means if the fight were stopped, it would go to the scorecards.
Sergey continued to pressure GGG, cutting the ring off, and forcing GGG into a scrappy fight. Throughout the middle rounds, Derevyanchenko was able to win multiple rounds in succession. In fact, this fight exposed GGG’s age and was one of the only times we have ever seen GGG hurt and seemingly circle waiting for the round to end.
Derevyanchenko continued using angles and footwork to attack GGG to the body. He was clearly starting to make an impact but GGG continued to use his stronger shots to stay in the fight. The jab was a key to victory for GGG but he was not utilizing it to its full potential. Derevyanchenko continued to win rounds with his persistent body work, but Golovkin was able to do some work of his own in round six. At the midway point GGG was slightly ahead on most scorecards. As the fight drew on Golovkin was able to protect his body and although the crowd was alarmed by Sergio’s assault on GGG’s body, many of the shots he threw didn’t make contact.
Rounds 11 & 12
As the fight entered the championship rounds both men continued firing on all cylinders. Sergey seemed to be more active and when he took a shot, he gave a shot. The eleventh round perhaps went to Derevyanchenko, but many felt the twelfth was going to be a round for GGG. As the twelfth and final round pressed on neither man really took control, but both gave it their all. Golovkin, clearly exhausted due to the body shots he sustained over the entire fight, stayed in there and took it the distance. The crowd was humbled and quiet anxiously awaiting a tough decision for the judges.
The scores read 115-112, 115-112, and 114-113 all in favor for the new IBF Middleweight Champion, Gennady Golovkin. There were a lot of close rounds where it could have gone either way, causing some fans to boo, as they cried robbery. I however feel that was a stretch. This was a tough fight with a tough decision. My personal scorecard was 114-113, in favor of GGG.
Although he got the win and a belt back on his shoulder Gennady Golovkin has looked different as of late. Maybe it’s the training camps. Perhaps it’s not having his long-time trainer Abel Sanchez in his corner any longer or maybe it’s how his new trainer Johnathon Banks works with him. GGG is clearly edging his way closer to retirement but he still has some gas left in the tank. The question is, will the focus and determination be there for someone not named Canelo? We’ll have to wait and see.