By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Daniel Jacobs might be the only boxer in the world with inside knowledge of Gennady Golovkin and Sergiy Derevyanchenko.
Jacobs gave Golovkin perhaps the most difficult fight of his career in March 2017 at Madison Square Garden. Derevyanchenko, who’s trained and managed by the same men as Jacobs, was one of Jacobs’ primary sparring partners for the Golovkin fight.
The numerous rounds they’ve sparred against each other have convinced Jacobs that Golovkin-Derevyanchenko would be a fight either unbeaten middleweight could win.
“That would be a really good fight for both fighters,” Jacobs said during an open workout Thursday at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn. “I do know that Sergiy has that grit, and he has skill beyond belief. He’s a really talented guy. I don’t know who would win that fight, even though I’ve been in there with both guys. May the best man win if it were to happen.”
Ukraine’s Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) is the mandatory challenger for Golovkin’s IBF 160-pound championship. Lou DiBella, Derevyanchenko’s promoter, is pushing for Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) to make his mandatory defense against Derevyanchenko on May 5.
Otherwise, DiBella believes the IBF should strip Golovkin.
Tom Loeffler, Golovkin’s promoter, has sought other potential replacements for the temporarily suspended Canelo Alvarez, most recently inactive junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan (36-3-1, 21 KOs). Loeffler stated Thursday that there’s not enough money available through HBO’s license fee to televise Golovkin’s fight May 5 to properly compensate Golovkin and Derevyanchenko for what would be a difficult fight on short notice.
“I just think [Golovkin is] trying to go down the line of scrubs and it’s just about what sells right now,” Jacobs said. “I think Triple-G, being that he was promoted as the devastating monster, I think the tides are kind of flipped now. I don’t think everyone is running from him. I think everyone’s gunning after him now. So that kind of tells you the way boxing is, the way boxing works. … If Sergiy was to get that opportunity, I’d be more than happy for him.”
Brooklyn’s Jacobs fully understands the business of boxing, in this case the high-risk, low-reward nature of fighting Derevyanchenko for Golovkin. He also acknowledged not fighting Derevyanchenko opens up Golovkin to warranted criticism.
“I guess it makes business sense because Sergiy’s probably not the biggest name in the world,” Jacobs said. “But, I mean, if we’re talking about true love for the sport and we’re talking about two champions, and we’re talking about all they made this guy up to be, he has to come and he has to execute that.”
The 31-year-old Jacobs, who narrowly lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Golovkin, hopes to get a rematch with the Kazakh knockout artist as soon as possible. Jacobs (33-2, 29 KOs) currently is preparing for his 12-round middleweight fight against Poland’s Maciej Sulecki (26-0, 10 KOs) on April 28 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center (HBO).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.