By Robert Addams: Former IBF/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin is in a make or break situation this Saturday night in his scrap against Sergiy Derevyanchenko on DAZN. Golovkin (39-1-1, 35 KOs) needs to win the fight, and look good at the same time for him to get the trilogy bout against Golden Boy Promotions star Saul Canelo Alvarez in 2020.
Nothing short of an impressive victory for the 37-year-old Golovkin will result in him being shutout permanently by Canelo. Although Canelo wants to give the Boxing public the fights that they’re demanding from him, he’s not going to be charitable to GGG if he’s coming off of a loss to Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10 KOs) or a bad performance.
Golovkin didn’t look all that great in his last fight against Steve Rolls on June 8. GGG knocked Rolls out, but he took a lot of shots, and was about even on the scorecards going into round 4. In the 4th, Golovkin caught Rolls with a looping right hand punch that connected to the top of his head. Golovkin landed a left hook that put him down.
Derevyanchenko will show where Golovkin is at with his career
“The importance of this fight for his career is huge,” said Golovkin’s co-promoter Eddie Hearn to IFL TV. “I just got asked the question, ‘Do you think GGG is on the slide?’ How can he be on the slide when he just beat Canelo twice. The second fight was close, but this will tell us everything we need to know about where he’s at. Derevyanchenko is a game fighter, he’s a strong fighter. The styles are going to gel perfectly in this fight. Gennady gets hit a little bit too much sometimes, but if you stand and trade with him, it’s not a nice place to be. So I think this Saturday on MSG, live on DAZN, live on Sky Sports, will tell us everything we need to know where he’s at with his career.
“I know he specifically doesn’t want to talk about Canelo this week, because he wants to focus on this fight, but of course the better the performance, the more the people that matter, the fans, will call that fight on. The more the chances of that fight happening. Yeah, this is the second fight,” said Hearn when asked if Golovkin will show improvements in his game with his new trainer Johnathon Banks. “With Steve Rolls, it was hard to see any changes, but we all know Johnathon likes to keep his fighters on their feet, moving well. I think it’s difficult at this stage in their careers to change his style too much,” said Hearn.
This is Golovkin’s second fight with new trainer Johnathon Banks, and we should see some notable changes. In the Steve Rolls fight, it was 100 percent the same Golovkin that we’d always known. movement, and throwing combinations.
Does Golovkin have anything left?
Hearn is right about the Derevyanchenko fight showing everything the Boxing fans want to know about Golovkin. Despite Hearn being careful about the wording he used in saying that the Derevyanchenko fight will tell us about GGG, it’s clear that he’s directly the concerns have about Golovkin possibly being shot. Gennady didn’t look great in his second with Canelo, and he looked even worse in his last match against Rolls.
If Golovkin is shot, he’s going to have a hard time trying to beat the 33-year-old Derevyanchenko. That’s a fight that Derevyanchenko wins if Golovkin is 70% of what he once was. Derevyanchenko is an excellent boxer, and he punches hard enough to hurt anyone in the division.
In looking at GGG workout on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, he looks a little different. He’s moving more, using head movement, and throwing combinations. However, Golovkin doesn’t look natural with that style, and it’s doubtful he’ll be able to remember to do those things during the fight on Saturday.
Golovkin vs. Derevyanchenko will be a war
“The great thing about Gennady is he walks you down, he cuts you off, and he makes you stand and fight,” said Hearn. “If you remember the Kell Brook fight, you can have a tactic going in, which was to box and move, but before you know it, he’s cut you off in the corner. So what do you do? You either hold or you stand and fight. 9 times out of 10, people will stand and fight him. That’s very, very dangerous to do, and that’s why he’s so exciting. He makes you stand and fight. Although he does get hit a lot, if he’s trading up with you, that’s where he wants to be. This is a chance for him [Golovkin] to become a world champion. He lost his belts to Canelo. That’s history. The IBF ordered this fight against Derevyanchenko,” said Hearn.
“Derevyanchenko is a very good fighter. You saw him lose to Danny Jacobs in a close fight, but Danny Jacobs boxed technically perfect that night, and he out-boxed him. Gennady is not going to try and out-box him. He’s going to try and out-fight him. He might out-box him early, but it’s going to be difficult to out-box Derevyanchenko. He’s going to make him fight. The styles. If you watched his [Derevyanchenko] last fight against [Jack] Culcay. It was an exciting. He likes to stand and fight, and he’s a big, strong boy, Derevyanchenko. I think it’s going to be a war.
There will be some back and forth with the Golovkin vs. Derevyanchenko fight, but maybe not a war. Derevyanchenko backed off when Daniel Jacobs and Tureano Johnson heated things up with him. He’s not going to fight Golovkin’s fight by continually slugging with him.
Golovkin must put pressure on Canelo by beating Derevyanchenko
“I respect Saul Canelo Alvarez, because I think he’s got a great resume,” said Hearn. “When you look at his fights in 2019, although he hasn’t had the fights the fans want, which is Gennady Golovkin, he has boxed Danny Jacobs and Sergey Kovalev. That’s a strong 2019, so you’ve got to respect him. I believe Canelo will make the fight the fans want, and that’s why this fight [Golovkin vs. Derevyanchenko] is so important.
GGG has got to put in the type of performance that makes people say, ‘We want #3.’ Let’s be honest. The two [Canelo-GGG] fights were brilliant, and we want a #3. Of course, we do. But Canelo calls the shots. He’s the A-side, and he’s built that credibility to make those decisions, but you’ve got to put pressure on him by putting on a great performance,” said Hearn.
It’s a given that Golovkin MUST beat Derevyanchenko for him to ever get a third fight with Canelo. But that also goes for GGG’s other fights. If Canelo doesn’t fight GGG next, then Golovkin will have a lot of pressure on him to keep winning. All it takes is one loss for GGG, and Canelo will have his excuse to permanently ignore him.
Hearn: Billy Joe Saunders in good position to get GGG and Canelo fights
“Yeah, they like that fight, and Canelo likes that fight,” said Hearn about Golovkin and Canelo both liking the Billy Joe Saunders contest. “I really believe, I said to Billy Joe the other day, that I really believe he’s in a great spot in 2020 to get those fights, but he’s got to win on November 9th. To answer your next question, his opponent [for November 9th] will be revealed very soon for the card.
“I like Denis Douglin. I think he’s a good fighter, but the WBO turned that fight down. It’s kind of frustrating, because when you look at the rankings, there are certain guys that don’t have the same kind of ability as Denis Douglin, but that’s the road we’ve got to follow,” said Hearn.
Hearn is stuck between a rock and a hard place in needing to find good opponents for WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (28-0, 13 KOs). He’s hoping that Canelo and Golovkin will want to fight Saunders in 2020, but it’s not likely to happen. Saunders is one of those types of fighters that make his opponents look bad.