There was a time when you couldn’t get out of the way of a story involving Gennadiy Golovkin, whether he was preparing for a fight or simply enjoying a leisurely jog.
It’s a brave new world in the career of the former middleweight titlist, whose last two scheduled fights have managed to fly well under the radar. Included in that lot is his Oct. 5 vacant title fight versus Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10KOs), which takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
“Right now, these last two fights he’s focusing on his training,” Tom Loeffler of GGG Promotions explained during an intimate invitation-only media gathering on Monday in Los Angeles, Calif. “It’s a new TV deal with DAZN. Right now, he’s focused on that.”
The bout will mark Golovkin’s seventh career appearance on MSG grounds and fifth in the main room, although ticket sales continue to lag with the event less than two weeks away. The 2004 Olympic Silver medalist from Kazakhstan has been all business ahead of his latest ring adventure, the second of a lucrative nine-figure deal inked with the standalone sports streaming service, which will carry the event.
Golovkin (39-1-1, 35KOs) made his platform debut this past June, scoring a 4th round knockout of Canada’s Steve Rolls which also took place in MSG’s main room. In addition to his DAZN debut, it was also Golovkin’s first without longtime head trainer Abel Sanchez, with the two engaging in a very public split shortly after he inked his deal with the streaming platform.
Their separation generated far more headlines than did Golovkin’s return to MSG. His perceived showcase versus Rolls had the misfortune of coming one week after the biggest heavyweight title fight upset of the 21st century, when Andy Ruiz knocked out previously unbeaten titlist Anthony Joshua at the very same venue.
Also not helping matters was Golovkin’s decision to take full control of his own career after years of serving as a prominent figure for cable giant HBO, who closed its doors to boxing at the end of 2018. Golovkin made his HBO debut in Sept. 2012, with his popularity skyrocketing beginning with his next network appearance in Jan. 2013 all the way through his Pay-Per-View rematch with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez last September.
His decision to sign with DAZN also came with the revelation that Loeffler no longer serves as his lead promoter. The longtime boxing personality still enjoys a prominent role in Golovkin’s career, though one separate from running his own promotional company (360 Promotions). Among the other decisions made by the record-tying former middleweight titlist—who turned 37 in April—was to employ a new presence in his corner, hiring former cruiserweight title challenger Johnathon Banks as his head trainer with the two having only worked together for less than six months.
“The last situation was very short when he announced he was working with a new trainer,” Loeffler noted in further explaining the lack of media attention afforded his most prominent client. “For this one here, he’s just focused on Derevyanchenko.”
The bout will mark Golovkin’s first title fight since losing his slew of middleweight belts to Alvarez in their rematch last September in Las Vegas, Nev. The majority decision defeat ended his eight-year run of holding at least one middleweight title, with his 20 successful defenses tying Bernard Hopkins for the all-time mark.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox