By Keith Idec
NEWARK, New Jersey – Gennady Golovkin left a hearing that lasted more than 4½ hours Tuesday still uncertain if he’ll remain the IBF’s middleweight champion.
Daryl Peoples, president of the IBF, told BoxingScene.com that the IBF has 10 business days from Tuesday to rule whether it’ll uphold its initial decision, which ordered Golovkin to make a mandatory defense against Sergiy Derevyanchenko next or give up his IBF title. Regardless, negotiations are ongoing for the Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez rematch to be rescheduled for September 15 in Las Vegas.
Golovkin and Derevyanchenko attended Tuesday’s hearing at the Robert Treat Hotel, along with their promoters, Tom Loeffler (Golovkin) and Lou DiBella (Derevyanchenko), their attorneys, Patrick English (Golovkin) and Alex Dombroff (Derevyanchenko), and Derevyanchenko’s manager, Keith Connolly.
The IBF granted Golovkin an exception that allowed him to fight junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan on May 5 at StubHub Center in Carson, California.
The IBF didn’t sanction Golovkin-Martirosyan as a title fight, though. The New Jersey-based sanctioning organization also informed Golovkin at that time that he would have to defend his championship against Derevyanchenko within 90 days of May 5, by August 3, if he wanted to keep his title.
Golovkin and his handlers had questions about the stipulations of the IBF’s exception, which necessitated Tuesday’s hearing. English and Dombroff presented arguments for each boxer and they took questions from the IBF’s three-person panel.
The IBF would make much more money off sanctioning fees from a Golovkin-Alvarez rematch than a mandatory match between Golovkin and Derevyanchenko. Alvarez and Golovkin would earn eight figures apiece for their rematch, whereas Ukraine’s Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) is largely unknown and represents a high-risk, low-reward proposition for Golovkin.
That’s what makes this ruling so significant for the career of the 32-year-old Derevyanchenko, who hasn’t made much money in boxing. Derevyanchenko was willing to challenge Golovkin on short notice May 5, but Loeffler paid $20,000 to the IBF on Golovkin’s behalf to request an exception to fight Martirosyan.
Golovkin isn’t expected to fight Derevyanchenko next, but his attendance Tuesday showed how important it is to the Kazakh knockout artist to keep his IBF title. He has long said he wants to own all of boxing’s middleweight titles at the same time.
The 36-year-old Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) won the IBF title by stopping Montreal’s David Lemieux in the eighth round of their October 2015 fight at Madison Square Garden. Golovkin defended his IBF belt four times before the IBF refused to sanction the Martirosyan match as a title fight.
Golovkin also holds the IBO, WBA and WBC middleweight titles.
The IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO have a rotational system in place for instances when one boxer possesses multiple championships in the same weight class. England’s Billy Joe Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs) holds the WBO middleweight title and the IBO doesn’t order mandatory matches.
It was the WBC’s turn in the rotational system before Golovkin’s fight May 5.
The WBC’s mandatory Jermall Charlo, was unavailable to replace Alvarez on May 5 because he was already scheduled to fight Hugo Centeno Jr. on April 21. Houston’s Charlo (27-0, 21 KOs) knocked out Centeno (26-2, 14 KOs, 1 NC) in the second round to win the WBC’s interim middleweight title that night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The WBC ordered an immediate rematch between Golovkin and Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) after their controversial draw September 16 in Las Vegas. The WBC believes its mandatory defense still is due before the IBF takes its turn.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission extended Alvarez’s suspension to six months at its monthly meeting April 18 for failing two performance-enhancing drug tests in February. Alvarez’s suspension is expected to end after August 17, which would make him eligible to fight Golovkin again September 15.
Derevyanchenko became the mandatory challenger for Golovkin’s IBF title by beating Tureano Johnson on August 25 in Miami, Oklahoma. The 2008 Olympian dropped the Bahamas’ Johnson (20-2, 14 KOs) in the 12th round and stopped him moments later.
Derevyanchenko has fought once since beating Johnson. He stopped journeyman Dashon Johnson (22-23-3, 7 KOs) after the sixth round March 3 at Barclays Center.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.