IBF says Gennady Golovkin must fight Sergey Derevyanchenko by Aug.3

Image: IBF says Gennady Golovkin must fight Sergey Derevyanchenko by Aug.3

By Jim Dower: Earlier on Friday the IBF granted the requested exception by IBF middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin for him to face Vanes Martirosyan in a voluntary defense on May 5 on the condition that GGG faces his IBF mandatory Sergey ‘The Technician’ Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) by no later than August 3.

That’s part of the deal for the IBF to give Golovkin the exception to face Martirosyan, who hasn’t fought in 2 years and is not a middleweight.

If Golovkin decides to stubbornly hold onto his IBF title after the Martirosyan fight on May 5, he’s likely going to lose the title when he faces Canelo. What’ll happen is Golovkin will take the fight with Derevyanchenko, which will likely be a grueling affair that he’ll probably win, but he’ll be too worn down from that fight to beat Saul Canelo Alvarez in September.

If Golovkin fights Derevyanchenko in August, then he won’t be able to fight Canelo at 100 percent in September. There won’t be enough time for GGG to recover to defeat Canelo. The IBF title will fly away along with GGG’s other titles if he goes into the Canelo fight at 75% capacity from having been worn down by Derevyanchenko.

“Derevyanchenko’s dream is not to fight for a vacant title. It is to fight GGG for the belts,” Derevyanchenko’s promoter Lou Dibella said to ESPN.com. ”That is what he wants. But he also wants the opportunity he earned to make money and fight for a world title. He hopes it’s against Golovkin.”

Golovkin has never vacated any of his world titles before, but he’s also never had a huge money rematch staring him in the face against Saul Canelo Alvarez in September. Golovkin isn’t being given enough time to fight Derevyanchenko in July or August, and then Canelo in September. That’s not realistic unless Golovkin KOs Derevyanchenko in the first four rounds. Derevyanchenko is a slick fighter, who moves, jabs and holds a lot. He’s not going to give Golovkin a lot of opportunities to land a lot of shots. Golovkin has to make up his mind whether he wants Canelo or his belts. He can’t have both. If Golovkin was young and in his 20s still, he could probably fight Derevyanchenko and Canelo a month apart, but he’s not young.

It could work if Canelo is willing to fight Golovkin in October, November or December instead of on September 15 on the Mexican Independence Day holiday weekend. I don’t think Canelo will do that, because he wants to fight only on the Mexican holidays. Golovkin and his promoter Tom Loeffler can try and get Canelo and Golden Boy to Promotions to work with him by doing the rematch in October, November or December. I don’t think Canelo will do it though, because he wants to fight on the Mexican holidays. If Golovkin doesn’t fight Canelo in September, then someone like Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan will.

There is still time for Golovkin to come to his senses and vacate his IBF title. The thing that Golovkin needs to decide is whether he loves money or if he loves his titles. If Golovkin wants money more than his titles, then he’ll do the smart thing and vacate the IBF title and face Saul Canelo Alvarez on September 15.

It looks like Derevyanchenko’s promoter, the Harvard graduate Lou Dibella, has outsmarted Golovkin and his promoter. It’s obvious where the mistake was made by Golovkin. He shouldn’t have agreed to fight Martirosyan on May 5. He should have given up the Cinco de Mayo date and waited until the Canelo fight on September 15. There would have no risk for Golovkin, and he could have kept his IBF title without having to defend it until after the Canelo rematch. By Golovkin choosing to stay active by fighting on May 5, he now must take two hard fights within in a month or two in August against Derevyanchenko and then September against Canelo. It’s an insane thing to even try to do. Golovkin should have stayed out of the ring until September or he should have given up the IBF title. Golovkin would have a very easy time arranging a fight with Derevyanchenko to fight for the IBF title if he vacated the belt.

The IBF has put Golovkin in a real bind by making an August 3 deadline to fight Derevyanchenko. It’s surprising that Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler ever agreed to that. He should have had Golovkin vacate the IBF title on the spot. There’s no money in a fight against Derevyanchenko for GGG, and it’s a fight that could put the Canelo Alvarez fight at risk. This is the decision Golovkin has to make. Defend the IBF title against Derevyanchenko for little money or fight Canelo for a huge payday? I think there’s only one logical decision that can be made. Golovkin must vacate his IBF title. Loeffler should have already told Golovkin to drop the IBF belt because there’s too much money to be made against Canelo, and no enough for a fight with the little known Derevyanchenko.

The time frame of Golovkin needing to fight Derevyanchenko by early August doesn’t work at all for the rematch against Saul Canelo Alvarez. There’s no way that Golovkin can fight Derevyanchenko in July or August, and then face Canelo on September 15. The only way it works is if Golovkin knocks Derevyanchenko out in the early rounds without getting hit too much. Golovkin can vacate his IBF title and take the big money fight with Canelo in September. That would be the smart move by Golovkin, because if he faces Derevyanchenko in July or August, he’s not going to have enough time to prepare properly for the Canelo fight. Who knows what Canelo is going to look like against Golovkin in the rematch? Canelo is going to have many months to plan his strategy for the Golovkin fight. Unfortunately for Triple G, he may have very little time to prepare for Canelo, especially if he fights Derevyanchenko in July or August. There’s not enough time for Golovkin to recover from that fight to get ready for the Canelo fight.

Style-wise, Derevyanchenko is made to order for Golovkin. The Ukrainian fighter is slow, easy to hit, not very mobile, and he likes to mix it up. Derevyanchenko is the type of fighter that Golovkin would have loved to fight several years ago before he ran into his last three opponents – Kell Brook, Daniel Jacobs and Canelo – and become more of a boxer than a puncher. For Golovkin to beat Derevyanchenko without suffering a lot of damage, he’s going to need to go after him to try and knock him out.

Derevyanchenko is going to have some tricks up his sleeves for the fight. Against Tureano Johnson, Derevyanchenko used a lot of jabbing, holding and moving. It’s likely that he’ll fight Golovkin the same way. Derevyanchenko will try and limit the amount of shots Golovkin can throw just like Jacobs, Canelo and Brook did by using movement. Derevyanchenko isn’t a big enough puncher to stand in front of Golovkin.

The positive is Golovkin can now fight replacement opponent Martirosyan on May 5. The negative is the IBF will strip Golovkin of his title if he doesn’t face Derevyanchenko by August 3. It seems like a lot of trouble for Golovkin to go through for the IBF to allow Golovkin to take the fight with Martirosyan on May 5 without taking away his IBF title for not defending his title against Derevyanchenko. Golovkin and his promoter Tom Loeffler had no choice but to agree to the IBF’s deal for him to keep his IBF title.

If Golovkin fights Derevyanchenko in August, the boxing public won’t be able to say that he’s ducking him. Right now, a lot of fans think Golovkin intentionally ducked Derevyanchenko because he chose not to fight him on May 5.

Golovkin is paying the price now for Canelo testing positive for clenbuterol and pulling out of their May 5 rematch. Instead of Golovkin fighting Canelo on that date and making 8-figures, he’s fighting replacement opponent Martirosyan and on the verge of potentially losing his IBF title or jeopardizing the Canelo rematch for September. Golovkin should ask Canelo to move their rematch to December, and if he says no, then he should wait until May 2019 to fight him. Golovkin will need at least four months to rest after his fight with Derevyanchenko in August before he fights again in December. If Canelo isn’t willing to accommodate Golovkin for a problem that he’s a part of due to him pulling out of their May 5 date, then GGG should fight someone else in the winter and wait until next year for the rematch with Canelo.