By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Chris Algieri had an up-close view of many of the Daniel Jacobs-Sergiy Derevyanchenko sparring sessions.
Algieri, a nutritionist and assistant trainer for Jacobs the past couple years, came away from those countless battles with a unique understanding of just how competitive their IBF middleweight title fight will be Saturday night.
The former WBO junior welterweight champion slightly favors Jacobs, yet realizes Derevyanchenko is more than capable of winning their 12-round, 160-pound championship match in The Theater at Madison Square Garden (HBO).
Jacobs (34-2, 29 KOs) and Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs), who are managed and trained by the same men, have estimated that they’ve sparred more than 300 rounds since Derevyanchenko moved from Ukraine to Brooklyn four years ago. Some of their most spirited sparring took place during Jacobs’ training camp for his close loss to Gennady Golovkin in March 2017 at Madison Square Garden.
“We had Sergiy Derevyanchenko in camp for the Triple-G fight, so they sparred a lot,” said Algieri, who wrapped up camp recently with Jacobs in the Bay Area. “When you’ve got high-level sparring partners, there’s good days and bad days. There’s ups and there’s downs, and I’ve seen it go both ways. The thing I take from it is that this is a fight. This is by no means an easy fight or an easy way to a world title. This is a real fight and I expect this to be a great fight.”
Algieri considers the 6-feet Jacobs’ size and speed as advantages over the 5-feet-9 Derevyanchenko.
“On paper,” Algieri explained, “if you look at it, the things that Danny can do – the height advantage, the reach advantage, the speed advantage, the pro experience advantage, the big-fight experience, Danny’s ahead on all of those. So just on paper, Danny’s the leading man. And just from being on the inside and seeing it, I still favor Danny.”
Because they’ve spent so much time in the ring together, there’s not much Jacobs and Derevyanchenko don’t know about one another. In regard to Jacobs’ chances of winning, that doesn’t concern Algieri.
“I think with other guys, that would worry me,” said Algieri, who’ll end a 2½-year layoff November 30 against an undetermined opponent in Huntington, New York. “But Danny’s such a dynamic guy and he’s so reactive, and the way he fights, his style, is so fluid, knowing Danny isn’t really knowing Danny. So I’m not as concerned as I would be maybe for another fighter.”
The 32-year-old Derevyanchenko is expected to give Jacobs his toughest test since his loss to Golovkin, though Algieri thinks their fight will unfold differently than the Golovkin-Jacobs bout. Golovkin knocked down Jacobs in the fourth round of that middleweight title bout, but Jacobs came back to box well and lost by slim margins on all three scorecards (115-112, 115-112, 114-113).
“Derevyanchenko throws more punches, for sure, than Triple-G does,” Algieri said. “I don’t think he’s as big of a puncher as Triple-G, at all. And other than their physical size, I don’t think they have a lot in common. I don’t see a lot of similarities in their styles.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.