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Loeffler denies GGG ducked Derevyanchenko in favor of Martirosyan

Image: Loeffler denies GGG ducked Derevyanchenko in favor of Martirosyan

By Jim Dower: Tom Loeffler got upset this week when a media member accused him of having his fighter middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) duck his IBF mandatory challenger Sergiy ‘The Technician’ Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) in favor of the inactive three-time beaten Vanes ‘Nightmare’ Martirosyan (36-3-1, 21 KOs) to fight on May 5 on HBO World Championship Boxing at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

There could be major repercussions from Loeffler’s decision to pick Martirosyan for Golovkin to fight instead of his IBF mandatory Derevyanchenko. The IBF could strip Golovkin of his IBF title for going around Derevyanchenko to fight Martirosyan. It’ll be unfortunate that Golovkin could end up getting stripped of his IBF title for taking a stay busy fight against Martirosyan. If Golovkin feels that it was worth it for him to bypass the Derevyanchenko fight, then that was his decision. It just looks really bad in the eyes of the fans.

The media member, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports News, shot holes Loeffler’s decision to pick Martirosyan over Derevyanchenko because he’s supposedly more marketable in the Southern California area.

Here’s what Mannix said on his Twitter about Loeffler, Golovkin and Derevyanchenko:

Golovkin promoter, Tom Loeffler, saying Martirosyan—who has not fought in two years, lost his last fight and is not a draw in LA—is more marketable than mandatory challenger Derevyanchenko is laughable. They are ducking Derevyanchenko, pure and simple.”

Derevyanchenko and Martirosyan are likely about the same in terms of their popularity in Southern California. Neither fighter is popular in California, but I don’t think it really matters much to the fans in the surrounding areas of Sol Cal. Golovkin has proven in the past that he draws well in the Los Angeles area for his fights against Mexican fighter Marco Antonio Rubio, Willie Monroe Jr. and Dominic Wade. Golovkin brought a numerous fans to see him fight those guys at the Forum in Inglewood, California and the StubHub Center.

Here’s what Loeffler’s response was:

”I normally don’t confront media on social media, but saying @GGGBoxing is ducking anyone is inexcusable. Tickets sold extremely well today and @VanesBoxing is definitely more marketable, especially in LA! Mandatory got more PR linked to GGG than over his entire career.”

What many of the fans think is Loeffler is making a phony excuse in selecting Martirosyan over Derevyancehnko, because he’s afraid that GGG will lose his big money fight against Saul Canelo Alvarez in September if he gets beaten by the Ukrainian fighter.

Here’s Mannix’s next response to Loeffler:

”Oh stop. You’re conflating issues. You’re acting like you chose Vanes over SD [Sergiy Derevyanchenko] because he’s more marketable. You didn’t, and you know it. So stop.”

Golovkin doesn’t need a popular fighter for him to sell tickets in Southern California. He already proved that by fighting Barrera, Willie Monroe Jr. and Wade in that area and those guys weren’t popular by any means. The boxing fan that turned out to see the fight were ones that wanted to see GGG. The fans think Golovkin just wants money, and that’s why he chose to take the safer fight against junior middleweight Martirosyan over Derevyanchenko.

Loeffler asks the IBF for an exception

If Golovkin had fought Derevyanchenko, the fight would have been taken on short notice at 3 weeks. That would be a hard thing for Golovkin to deal with. However, if he valued his IBF title enough, he would do it. Right now, Loeffler is still trying to get an exception with the International Boxing Federation for Golovkin to keep his IBF middleweight title with their decision to use Martirosyan as the substitute for Canelo rather than IBF mandatory Derevyanchenko.

Loeffler has been saying the reason he doesn’t want to make the Golovkin-Derevyanchenko fight is it would require more time to promote the fight with Derevyanchenko than it would for a fight with Martirosyan. If the IBF chooses not to agree to the exception, then Golovkin will be stripped of his IBF 160 lb. title for taking the stay busy fight with Martirosyan.

As part of the exception, there will need to be a step aside fee given to Derevyanchenko. The problem is if Derevyanchenko and his management ask for too high of a step aside feel, and then it will cut into the little money that Golovkin is making for the fight with Martirosyan. Since the fight is being televised on HBO World Championship Boxing rather than on PPV, there will be far less money for Golovkin, especially if he pays a step aside

Derevyanchenko, 32, doesn’t bring much to the table with his name, but he’s the IBF mandatory challenger, and Golovkin could wind up losing his IBF title now that he’s chosen to fight Martirosyan. It’s a bad look for Golovkin if he’s stripped of his title by the IBF.

What makes Golovkin look bad is that Loeffler chose an inactive junior middleweight to fight in Martirosyan instead of a highly ranked middleweight. Loeffler could have helped give Golovkin some cover by not fighting Derevyanchenko if he’d fought one of the top middleweights like Demetrius Andrade, Daniel Jacobs or Jermall Charlo. But with his decision to select the inactive Martirosyan from the 154 lb. division, it just looks like a duck on Team Golovkin’s part.

In defense of Golovkin, he was previously scheduled to fight a very good opponent in Saul Canelo Alvarez until he tested positive twice for clenbuterol and then pulled out of the fight four weeks before.

Golovkin then was stuck with the situation of having to face Derevyanchenko on short notice, which is not the ideal situation for a tough opponent like that. Golovkin winds up getting punished for Canelo pulling out of the fight. That’s the gist of it. Canelo pulled out of the fight with weeks to go after testing positive for clenbuterol. Golovkin winds up being the one that must suffer for it due to him not facing his IBF mandatory Derevyanchenko on short notice.

Loeffler expects the Golovkin vs. Martirosyan fight to break attendance records at the StubHub Center in Carson. We’ll have to see if that’s true. It’s interesting that we saw a commercial this week with Golovkin and his trainer Abel Sanchez taking a shot at Canelo with Sanchez eating steak and talking about the true secret to gaining super human strength. It looks like Canelo’s name will be mentioned frequently by Team Golovkin to help attract interest in the Martirosyan fight on May 5.

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