By Keith Idec
Sergiy Derevyanchenko’s promoter and manager have taken exception to Gennady Golovkin’s promoter suggesting Derevyanchenko wasn’t available to challenge Golovkin for the IBF middleweight title May 5.
Lou DiBella, Derevyanchenko’s promoter, and Keith Connolly, the unbeaten Ukrainian contender’s manager, petitioned the IBF to force Golovkin to make a mandatory defense of his IBF 160-pound championship against Derevyanchenko after Canelo Alvarez officially withdrew from their rematch. The IBF ultimately granted Golovkin an exception to take on an optional opponent, Vanes Martirosyan, on May 5, but the New Jersey-based organization wouldn’t sanction Golovkin-Martirosyan as a title fight.
Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) instead defended his WBA, WBC and IBO titles when he knocked out Martirosyan (36-4-1, 21 KOs) in the second round May 5 at StubHub Center in Carson, California.
As part of the IBF’s decision to grant Golovkin’s request for an exception, it ruled that Golovkin would have to defend his title against Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) within 90 days of May 5, by August 3, or get stripped.
A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at a hotel in Newark, New Jersey, to determine the status of the Golovkin-Derevyanchenko fight. Golovkin has long professed a desire to own all of boxing’s middleweight titles and doesn’t want to give up his IBF title.
Negotiations are expected to intensify soon, though, in an attempt to reschedule his rematch against Alvarez for September 16. Golovkin would make much more money for facing Alvarez again than for making a mandatory defense against the dangerous yet largely unknown Derevyanchenko.
Tom Loeffler, Golovkin’s promoter, told BoxingScene.com for a story posted Friday that, “Derevyanchenko wasn’t up to fighting May 5.”
DiBella and Connolly contend that is the furthest thing from the truth.
“That’s a complete lie,” DiBella told BoxingScene.com. “Sergiy was available the whole way. Tom knows that.”
Derevyanchenko’s team made it clear publicly after the suspended Alvarez withdrew April 3 that Derevyanchenko was willing to take that difficult fight against Golovkin on short notice. DiBella, Connolly, Derevyanchenko and an attorney representing the undefeated contender will attend Tuesday’s hearing, as will Golovkin, Loeffler and an attorney for Golovkin.
“As far as Loeffler coming out and saying recently Sergiy wasn’t ready to fight May 5, so it really didn’t push him back, that’s a flat-out lie,” Connolly told BoxingScene.com. “Tom knows damn well Sergiy was ready and willing to fight Golovkin on May 5th. We publicly said we were willing to fight May 5th. There are also several letters that were sent to Tom and the IBF, stating we were ready to take the fight on that date.
“The truth is they negotiated with several other fighters, but never even offered $1 for us to fight Triple-G on that date. They clearly avoided Sergiy and they know it. We are looking forward to Tuesday’s hearing and the IBF upholding the decision that Golovkin has to fight Sergiy next.”
The IBF, WBA and WBC take turns rotating for mandatory title fights in instances when a boxer owns all three of those titles. A high-profile, lucrative Golovkin-Alvarez rematch was ordered by the WBC following their controversial draw September 16 in Las Vegas.
Once Alvarez was forced to pull out of their second bout because he failed two performance-enhancing drug tests in February, it became the WBC’s mandatory turn May 5. The WBC’s mandatory challenger, Jermall Charlo, was unavailable, however, because he was already scheduled to fight Hugo Centeno Jr., who Charlo knocked out in the second round to win the WBC’s interim middleweight title April 21 in Brooklyn.
The IBF is next in line, though the WBC’s mandatory obligation wasn’t fulfilled by Golovkin’s victory over Martirosyan. Unlike the IBF, the WBC did sanction Golovkin-Martirosyan as a title bout, despite that Martirosyan was ranked at super welterweight, one division below middleweight.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.