By Keith Idec
Lou DiBella considers Daniel Jacobs-Sergiy Derevyanchenko a true “50-50 fight.”
One edge DiBella gives Derevyanchenko, the fighter he promotes, is that he considers the unbeaten Ukrainian contender to be hungrier. Jacobs, 31, has surpassed eight figures in career earnings, has headlined an HBO Pay-Per-View event against Gennady Golovkin at Madison Square Garden and has received mainstream attention for valiantly overcoming cancer.
The 32-year-old Derevyanchenko virtually is unknown and will earn a six-figure purse for the first time in his four-year pro career when he battles Jacobs on Saturday night in New York for the vacant IBF middleweight title.
If he can beat Brooklyn’s Jacobs in the biggest fight of his career, the 2008 Olympian will be move into position for lucrative 160-pound title unification fights.
“I think Danny said he has an advantage in professional experience,” DiBella said on a conference call Monday. “I think an advantage that Sergiy has on Saturday night is hunger. He literally is hungry. He’s got a family. He’s got [a son]. Despite his hard work and mine and his management’s, [he] hasn’t made the money yet that he deserves. And the only way that’s gonna happen for him is by beating Daniel Jacobs on Saturday night. And I have a feeling on Saturday night, when either that 10 count’s called on a fighter or the 12th round’s over, everybody’s gonna know who Sergiy Derevyanchenko is.”
HBO will air Derevyanchenko-Jacobs as the main event of a “World Championship Boxing” tripleheader from The Theater at Madison Square Garden (10 p.m. ET/PT).
The No. 1-rated Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) and the third-ranked Jacobs (34-2, 29 KOs) will fight for the 160-pound championship the IBF surprisingly stripped from Golovkin on June 6. Derevyanchenko, who also resides in Brooklyn, and Jacobs are stablemates who’ve sparred more than 300 rounds against one another, but they’re in each other’s way as they try to secure fights against Canelo Alvarez and/or Golovkin.
“I think that the difference in this fight is gonna be what it means to each guy,” DiBella said. “Danny’s already been able to achieve a lot. I know he wants to be a unified champion, but Danny doesn’t have to worry, at the moment, about feeding his family and being able to do the things that he has worked all his life for. He has already reaped some of those rewards – Sergiy hasn’t. And I think on Saturday night you’re gonna see the best of Sergiy Derevyanchenko. And I think the winner of that fight’s gonna make a lot of money.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.