NEW YORK – By the end of the second round Saturday night, Sergiy Derevyanchenko didn’t appear ready to give Gennadiy Golovkin what evolved into the fight of the middleweight champion’s life.
Golovkin dropped Derevyanchenko in the first round, albeit with a right hand Derevyanchenko believes landed on the back of his head. In the following round, Golovkin’s left hook caused a nasty laceration above Derevyanchenko’s right eye, which impacted Derevyanchenko’s vision.
Down an additional point on the scorecards and suddenly bloodied, Derevyanchenko didn’t get discouraged. Instead, the daring Ukrainian contender fought back as hard as possible and pushed Golovkin to his physical and mental limits throughout the remaining 10 rounds.
Golovkin defeated Derevyanchenko by unanimous decision, but Derevyanchenko definitely won over plenty of fans for fighting ferociously against one of the most dangerous boxers of this era. Promoter Lou DiBella commended his fighter’s courage after Derevyanchenko delivered an epic performance at Madison Square Garden.
“That kid could barely see from the second round,” DiBella said. “He fought like a f***ing warrior! He fought like a f***ing king!”
Virtually every time Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KOs) seemed to affect Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KOs) with punishing punches, a determined Derevyanchenko fired back with combinations that made Golovkin back off. Golovkin still won seven rounds on two of the three scorecards (115-112, 115-112, 114-113), but CompuBox credited Derevyanchenko for landing more overall and power punches against Golovkin than any previous opponent.
According to CompuBox, Golovkin barely out-landed Derevyanchenko in overall punches (243-of-720 to 230-of-738). Derevyanchenko connected on more power punches (183-of-472 to 136-of-314), while Golovkin landed more jabs (107-of-406 to 47-of-266).
“I just looked at the CompuBox numbers,” DiBella said. “[Derevyanchenko] out-threw him in power shots unbelievably. He out-landed him in power shots by almost 50 percent more. And it was the most power shots ever, in any fight, landed on Triple-G, including Canelo. And he had him hurt.”
Keith Connolly, Derevyanchenko’s manager, is certain Derevyanchenko deserved what would’ve been by far the most noteworthy win of his five-year pro career. Even in defeat, Connolly commended his fighter for giving fans every reason to want to see him fight Golovkin again.
“He showed people he has the heart of a lion,” Connolly said. “When he got hurt, every single time he got hit with huge combinations, he came back with a combination himself. He never backed down. There was never a time when he got hit, when he didn’t come back with a combination. So, he showed he’s not only one of the top middleweights in the world, but one of the toughest.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.