By Keith Idec
Sergiy Derevyanchenko doesn’t believe Gennady Golovkin ducked him.
The middleweight contender realizes he was a high-risk, low-reward alternative for Golovkin once the Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended Canelo Alvarez and consequently canceled their May 5 rematch. Had Golovkin agreed to fight the dangerous Derevyanchenko on three weeks’ notice and lost, the former champion would’ve cost himself an eight-figure payday for facing Alvarez again.
Lou DiBella, Derevyanchenko’s promoter, and Keith Connolly, the unbeaten Ukrainian’s manager, pressed the IBF to force Golovkin to make his mandatory defense against their fighter May 5. The New Jersey-based sanctioning organization ultimately granted Golovkin an exception to make an optional defense versus Vanes Martirosyan, whom Golovkin knocked out in the second round.
A month later, the IBF stripped Golovkin because one of the stipulations of approving that exception was that he had to make his mandatory defense against Derevyanchenko in his next fight. It became clear by then that the Alvarez-Golovkin rematch would be rescheduled for September 15, when Alvarez won a majority decision in Las Vegas.
The 32-year-old Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) will battle stablemate Daniel Jacobs (34-2, 29 KOs) on Saturday night in New York for the IBF middleweight title taken from Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs).
“Golovkin and his team had another plan,” Derevyanchenko told BoxingScene.com. “They wanted the rematch with Alvarez. If you’re a top guy, nobody is scared to fight. Golovkin was not scared. But if you have another plan, it’s business.”
If Derevyanchenko defeats Jacobs in their 12-round, 160-pound championship match in The Theater at Madison Square Garden, he hopes Golovkin will want to fight him to try to win back the IBF belt.
“I wanted to fight Golovkin,” Derevyanchenko said. “I wanted to fight a big name, but I’m not disappointed because here I have now another fight for the title. I have a good chance against another good boxer. And maybe in the future, if I win, maybe I can fight Golovkin or somebody else.”
HBO will broadcast Jacobs-Derevyanchenko as the main event of a “World Championship Boxing” tripleheader scheduled to start at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
The three-bout broadcast also will include a 12-round bout that’ll match Puerto Rico’s Alberto Machado (20-0, 16 KOs), the WBA world super featherweight champion, against Cleveland’s Yuandale Evans (20-1, 14 KOs). New York’s Heather Hardy (21-0, 4 KOs, 1 NC) will oppose Providence’s Shelly Vincent (23-1, 1 KO) in HBO’s opener, a 10-round fight for the vacant WBO women’s featherweight crown.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.