By Keith Idec
Gennadiy Golovkin and Sergiy Derevyanchenko finally will come face to face Thursday in New York.
That’s when their fight for the vacant IBF middleweight title will be officially announced during a press conference at Madison Square Garden. Their IBF-mandated match will take place October 5 at The Garden, nearly a year and a half after the IBF first tried to force it to happen.
Handlers for Kazakhstan’s Golovkin (39-1-1, 35 KOs) and Ukraine’s Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10 KOs) were in the process Tuesday of finalizing minor details in their contracts. Multiple sources have informed BoxingScene.com, though, that nothing is expected to stop Golovkin, 37, and Derevyanchenko, 33, from moving forward with their bout.
DAZN – with which Golovkin signed a six-fight, nine-figure contract in March – will stream Golovkin-Derevyanchenko.
Golovkin is favored over Derevyanchenko, but Derevyanchenko is a more formidable foe for him than his previous opponent, Steve Rolls. The former middleweight champion knocked out Toronto’s Rolls (19-1, 10 KOs), a huge underdog, in the fourth round June 8 at Madison Square Garden.
Comparatively easy negotiations for a Golovkin-Derevyanchenko bout began August 1, as soon as the IBF stripped Canelo Alvarez of its middleweight championship because his handlers failed to strike a deal for a mandatory defense versus Derevyanchenko. A purse bid for the Alvarez-Derevyanchenko fight had been postponed, but Golden Boy Promotions, which represents Alvarez, and Lou DiBella, Derevyanchenko’s promoter, couldn’t come to an agreement within the additional negotiating period allowed by the IBF.
Once the Alvarez-Derevyanchenko negotiations ended, the IBF ordered the top-ranked Derevyanchenko to face its next highest-rated contender, the third-ranked Golovkin, for its vacant middleweight title. The No. 2 spot in the IBF’s middleweight rankings is unoccupied.
Important components of the Golovkin-Derevyanchenko deal were installed almost immediately, largely because DAZN executive chairman John Skipper wanted that fight next for Golovkin. The past 2½ weeks were spent solidifying minor details in their contracts.
Mexico’s Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) defeated Daniel Jacobs by unanimous decision in their 12-round middleweight title unification match May 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Brooklyn’s Jacobs (35-3, 29 KOs) defeated Derevyanchenko by 12-round split decision to win the then-vacant IBF belt October 27 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Jacobs and Derevyanchenko fought for the unclaimed championship the IBF stripped from Golovkin for declining to make a mandatory defense against Derevyanchenko. Golovkin instead pursued a rematch against Alvarez, who edged Golovkin by majority decision in their second meeting September 15 at T-Mobile Arena.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.