Gennadiy Golovkin is once again a middleweight champion, but he had to walk through hell to get there. Late on Saturday night, he won a hard fought unanimous decision over Sergiy Derevyanchenko by scores of 114-113, 115-112 and 115-112 to capture the vacant IBF belt.
“I told you, he’s a very tough guy,” Golovkin said in the ring after his win. “This is huge experience for me. Right now, I understand I need more. … I feel this was not an easy fight for me. This was a tough fight.”
It was a difficult victory, but a victory nonetheless, which is what Golovkin needed as he looks forward to a potential trilogy fight with Canelo Alvarez. The two fighters have dismissed each other and that possibility in the past few months, but it’s the biggest fight out there for either man, and in the end everyone expects money to talk — despite whatever personal problems exist between them.
“Absolutely,” Golovkin said when asked about fighting Alvarez again. “I’m open for anybody. There’s so many great champions right now here. Everything is ready. Just call Canelo. if he says yes, let’s do it.”
Alvarez has a tough test of his own coming up, however, as he’ll jump up to light heavyweight to take on Sergey Kovalev in November. So don’t expect a resolution to the Golovkin-Alvarez drama any time soon.
Though typically a slow starter, Golovkin knocked Derevyanchenko down in the first round with a nice combination that started off with an uppercut and ended with a cuffing punch to the top of the head. In the following round, Golovkin opened up a nasty cut above Derevyanchenko’s right eye.
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The Ukrainian responded well to the adversity, however, and perhaps sensing the danger of his cut, he started to increase his activity. Derevyanchenko’s pressure proved a problem for Golovkin, who didn’t react well to being backed up.
“When I started moving, I felt like I was giving him room and I was being hit with those looping shots that Golovkin threw. That’s when I started taking the fight to him and not giving him room to maneuver,” Derevyanchenko said.
From the middle rounds on, it was an all-out brawl, with a number of close, difficult rounds to score. By the 12th round, neither fighter had anything left in the tank, and spent the final three minutes grabbing and holding each other just to stay on their feet. In the end, the judges decided that Golovkin had done enough to earn a close decision — an opinion CBS Sports agreed with, scoring the fight 114-113 to Golovkin.