By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Daniel Jacobs could’ve criticized Gennady Golovkin and commended himself all at the same time.
Jacobs just doesn’t think Golovkin is afraid of fighting Sergiy Derevyanchenko. The former WBA world middleweight champion believes it simply made financial sense for Golovkin to put off making a mandatory defense of his IBF middleweight title against Derevyanchenko because he’ll make much more money for his rematch with Canelo Alvarez.
That decision surprisingly cost Golovkin the IBF 160-pound championship 2½ months ago. Brooklyn’s Jacobs (34-2, 29 KOs) will battle Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) for that vacant crown October 27 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden (HBO).
“I don’t think he was afraid of Derevyanchenko,” Jacobs said following a press conference Thursday in Manhattan. “I think it was a business opportunity. I mean, if you think about what Triple-G represents to the sport of boxing, it was kind of like when Floyd Mayweather came back and he fought [Juan Manuel] Marquez, or when he fought all the other guys and he didn’t need the title. The name speaks for itself. And I think [Golovkin] knowing that, he wants to go for the bigger opportunities financially and that’ll define his career, as opposed to fighting a guy that’s not that known and probably wouldn’t make [him] the same amount of money. It was a business opportunity, if anything.”
Lou DiBella, Derevyanchenko’s promoter, pressed the IBF to force Golovkin to fight Derevyanchenko on short notice May 5 once Alvarez’s six-month suspension for two failed performance-enhancing drug tests forced him to withdraw from his rematch against Golovkin that night. Golovkin received an exception that allowed him to instead make an optional defense against inactive junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan (36-4-1, 21 KOs), who Golovkin knocked out in the second round at StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) attempted to delay his mandatory defense versus Derevyanchenko again after defeating Martirosyan because the Alvarez rematch was to be rescheduled for September 15 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The IBF ruled June 6 to strip Golovkin of its middleweight title, even though that wasn’t what was requested by Derevyanchenko’s team.
DiBella and Eddie Hearn, Jacobs’ promoter, came to a contractual agreement for the Derevyanchenko-Jacobs bout July 10, mere minutes before a purse bid was scheduled at the IBF’s headquarters in Springfield, New Jersey. Derevyanchenko, 32, and Jacobs, 31, are trained by the same man, Andre Rozier, but neither fighter was willing to pass on an opportunity to fight for a middleweight title.
Rozier will prepare Jacobs for this fight. Derevyanchenko will work with Gary Stark Sr., who usually helps Rozier train Jacobs and Derevyanchenko.
“My thing is I wanna be able to fight the best,” Jacobs said. “So this opportunity is only taking place because there’s a belt at stake. And I know with the belt, the true IBF middleweight belt, where I’ll be recognized as champion, I think that it does a great thing for my career.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.