By Barry Holbrook: Gennady Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler believes that if he looks too good in defeating Sergiy Derevyanchenko on Saturday night it could lead to him having difficulties in finding opponents for him to fight.

The top fighters are no longer avoiding Golovkin. They’re pursuing him, because they now see him as beatable after performances against Saul Canelo Alvarez, Daniel Jacobs and Steve Rolls.

Golovkin (39-1-1, 35 KOs) is fighting the highly trained 2008 Olympian Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10 KOs) for the vacant IBF middleweight title on DAZN at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Loeffler says Golovkin’s #1 priority is to beat Derevyanchenko to capture the IBF 160-lb title. From there, he’ll then look to find the best opponent he find. He and DAZN would preferably want Golovkin’s next opponent to be Saul Canelo Alvarez.

If they can’t get him, then it’ll be one of these fighters that Golovkin likely faces next:

  • Demetrius Andrade
  • Billy Joe Saunders
  • Callum Smith

One name that Loeffler failed to mention is WBA ‘regular’ middleweight champion Ryota Murata (15-2, 11 KOs). Earlier this week, Loeffler seemed to get excited each time he spoke about Golovkin potentially facing Murata in his next fight. Loeffler didn’t get worked up in the same way in talking about other options for Golovkin.

Golovkin can’t underestimate Derevyanchenko

“You can’t underestimate Derevyanchenko. He had a great amateur career, and he had a very close fight with Danny Jacobs,” said Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler to Behind The Gloves. “A lot of people thought he [Derevyanchenko] won the fight with Jacobs. That was when Andre Rozier was in Jacobs’ corner rather than Derevyanchenko.

“Andre said if he was in Derevyanchenko’s corner, he would have won the fight. Sergiy is one of those fighters that you can’t underestimate, and he’s a little unpredictable, because he had a tremendous amateur career, but with the short number of professional fights he’s had, he’s fought at such a high level.

“It’s a little bit unpredictable, but he’s not afraid. He’s very relaxed. I’ve seen him at the press conferences, and he’s excited for this fight. Gennady isn’t scared. He was excited to fight a challenge like Derevyanchenko to get a couple of his titles back. If he’s successful, it’ll put him back where he was before,” said Loeffler.

Golovkin has got a real fight on his hands with Derevyanchenko on Saturday night. Some boxing fans believe Derevyanchenko is the toughest fight of GGG’s career, and even tougher than Canelo.

GGG could move up to 168 for compelling fight

“If there’s a compelling fight at 168, because he makes 160 easy,” said Loeffler. “We were talking about Carl Froch at one time at Wembley Stadium. That would have been a huge fight. Eddie [Hearn] wasn’t able to put that together, but he wasn’t able to convince Carl with the whole nose thing, but we have respect for Carl. That would have been a huge fight in the UK. The Billy Joe fight we’ve been talking about for a long time.

“When GGG fought Kell Brook, that started out with negotiations to fight Billy Joe Saunders. GGG was willing to go to the UK to fight Billy Joe. That’s how Eddie got in contact with me, because he heard that we couldn’t make the Billy Joe Saunders fight. He was then trying to make the Chris Eubank Jr. fight, which is another good name for GGG to fight Eubank Jr. Look, there are a lot of great names out,” said Loeffler.

Golovkin isn’t talking about wanting to fight anyone at 168, and that gives an indication his next fight will be at 160. Few boxing fans expect Golovkin to fight Demetrius Andrade or Jermall Charlo. If Golovkin is going to fight anyone from the division, it’l be Murata or Kamil Szeremeta.

Both are terrible choice, but very safe for GGG. Murata would be a business level fight, because he’s got a huge following in Japan. There’s money for Golovkin to make fighting over there. The U.S fans won’t be interested in a Golovkin-Murata fight, but they’re not interested in his fight with Derevyanchenko or his previous match against Steve Rolls. This is par for the course for Golovkin.

Loeffler says Golovkin’s first step is to win IBF title

“The first step it to get the title, and beat Derevyanchenko on Saturday night, said Loeffler. “Then we’ll see what’s available in the middleweight division, and what makes sense at super middleweight. He always said if he fights at super middleweight, he would go up, and then go back down, because he makes 160 still so easily. So it really has to be a compelling fight for him to do that. But all the names you’ve mentioned are great names.

“So we have to see how everything shakes out, and who we are actually able to make a deal with. Everyone thought the Canelo fight was going to take place on September 14th. That’s what everyone was talking about. For whatever reason that wasn’t on Canelo’s plan. So now GGG is fighting Derevyanchenko, and Canelo is fighting Kovalev. We’ll see what happens down the road,” said Loeffler.

Golovkin has to win the IBF title. That’s part of the fight tomorrow night. If he loses to Derevyanchenko, then it really doesn’t matter how much he talks of wanting to fight Canelo again. It won’t happen. Everything hinges on Golovkin’s fight with Derevyanchenko. If Golovkin wins, then he keeps alive his hopes for  third fight with Canelo.

Canelo keeping Golovkin waiting

“So any one of those guys would be a compelling fight,” said Loeffler about possible Golovkin opponents Demetrius Andrade, Billy Joe Saunders, and Callum Smith. “GGG was ready to fight on September 14th, and DAZN was ready for that to happen.

“Even Oscar [De La Hoya] was under the impression that fight was going to happen. Right now with Canelo, we’re kind of going around in circles talking about him. The only one that can answer that is Canelo,” said Loeffler.

Golovkin is so needy when it comes to the Canelo fight. That’s got to be a real disappointment for Canelo. When you have a fighter whose whole focus is chasing you instead of blazing their own trail, it’s got to be repugnant. If Golovkin were capable of fighting the best, and beating then, then he wouldn’t need Canelo. The way that GGG is so desperate to fight Canelo, it comes across like he’s not confident that he can beat the top fighters.

Golovkin could make it difficult to find opponents if he looks good against Derevyanchenko

“It’s made my job really difficult over the years,” said Loeffler about the problems he’s made finding opponents for Golovkin over the years. “When he was on that 23-fight knockout winning streak, people weren’t just negotiating with GGG, they were negotiating like it was the last fight of their careers. They knew they were going to get knocked out. It was a unique experience because of all the fighters I’ve worked with in boxing, GGG was a unified champion.

“He was bringing 4 belts with him, and people still didn’t want to fight him for big paydays. It was bizarre. Now at 37, it seems like people are thinking it’s safe to get back in the war. I do think if he looks spectacular like we expect him to on Saturday night, it’s going to make it challenging again. But there’s only one way to find out,” said Loeffler.

The top fighters aren’t going to be scared off by Golovkin if he beats Derevyanchenko in an impressive fashion. Canelo already created the blueprint in how to defeat GGG, and the top fighters are going to continue to want to face him.