GGG vs. Derevyanchenko: To Be The Man
By Iberedem Ekure
Photos: "Sugar" Ray Bailey
Professional wrestling legend Ric Flair once said, "to
be the man, you gotta beat the man!". I share the same
sentiment, except in Saturday night's main event, nobody
told Sergey Derevyanchenko just how badly he had to beat
the man, Gennady Golovkin a.k.a GGG, to become the man.
"Big Drama Show" lived up to its promise right from the
undercards to the post-fight conference: multiple
first-round knockouts, a broken leg, fight of the year
candidate, in-ring drama, promoter war of words,
questions around a fighter's pre-fight health, it all
happened at Madison Square Garden on the 5th of October.
The main event was ushered in by Michael Buffer as he
delivered his signature "Let's get ready to rumble!"
GGG looked poised in his white trunks, sponsored by
watchmaker Hublot and Sergey was in gold trunks. In
round 1, Derevyanchenko came out throwing the jab to
establish distance. Golovkin threw a combination of left
hooks and an overhand right that put Derevyanchenko on
the canvas, scoring a knockdown. Derevyanchenko made the
count and went on the offensive looking to make up for
lost ground. Golovkin seemed content with taking the
10-8 round and evaded Derevyanchenko's advances rather
than going for the kill.
The second round started with Derevanchenko on the
offensive. He landed a series of left hooks and slipped
Golovkin's counters. In the final minute, Golovkin
caught Derevyancheno with a couple of powerful left
hands of his own, opening a deep cut over the right eye
The third round got underway after the doctor clear's
Derevyanchenko to continue. The cut seemed to awaken him
an instilled a sense of urgency: Derevanchenko moved
deftly around the ring, evaded Golovkin's punches and
landed 8 unanswered punches. Both men continued
exchanging with Golovkin landing hard left and right
hands to the head and Derevyanchenko countered to the
In rounds four through six, Sergey's movement was sharp
and crisp. This prevented Golovkin from cutting off the
ring as he usually would have. Derevanchenko used the
jab to good effect while landing a significant number of
power punches as Golovkin tried to pin him against the
ropes. Derevyanchenko landed a left hook to the body
that had Golovkin in trouble in round 5, and in round 6
when he found himself backed up against the ropes,
turned Golovkin and unleashed a flurry.
Round 7 saw Golovkin try to gain some momentum but he
got beaten to the punch by the quicker Derevyanchenko.
Golovkin eventually found his openings and landed a
couple of good right hands to the body. Both men
exchanged freely at the end of the round.
Round 8 brought a more active Derevyanchenko who landed
a good left to the body and a few combinations. Golovkin
turned the tables midway through the round and connected
with a right hand to the body and a couple of hooks
upstairs that went unanswered.
Rounds 9 and 10 saw Golvkin try to take control of the
rounds early, landing power punches but Sergey refused
to back down, sufficiently answering with combinations
and in round 10, Derevyanchenko landed 10 unanswered
punches getting the crowd on their feet. Derevyanchenko
seemed to be inviting the big shots from Golovkin and
answering with combinations of his own to the head and
body to which Golovkin had no answer.
Eddie Hearn at ringside shouts to Golovkin "Two more!”
believing Golovkin needed the next two rounds.
Round 11 saw Derevyanchenko come out firing but he soon
let Golovkin catch him with powerful right and left
hooks to close the round.
The 12th and final round, both men were exhausted but
tried to establish themselves. It was an entertaining
exchange with Golovkin getting the better of
Derevyanchenko amidst clinching as a result of fatigue.
It was an action-packed, barn burner of a fight. A Big
Drama Show! and the judges added more drama scoring a
114-113, 115-112, 115-112 unanimous decision for
Golovkin who astonishingly, was subsequently booed by
the Madison Square Garden crowd as his image was
projected on the jumbotron post-fight. The drama was far
from over as Demetrius Andrade, the WBO Middleweight
champion made his way into the ring to make his case for
a unification bout.
In the post-fight interview, both Golovkin and
Derevyanchenko could not be present as they both went to
the hospital after the fight. Eddie Hearn revealed that
Golovkin had been under the weather through the week but
still decided to fight. Derevyanchenko's manager and
promoter Keith Connolly and Lou DiBella were visibly
irate at the judges' decision and called for a rematch.
They were having none of the points Hearn was trying to
make about Golovkin’s health and felt their fighter was
robbed of his moment. Eddie Hearn, however, demurred,
suggesting that there were other fights on the horizon
(The Andrade unification and of course, the Canelo
trilogy) and Golovkin would make his decision.
In the undercard, Junior middleweight Israel Madrimov
put on a show against Alejandro Barrera.
In round 1, Barrera tried to establish the jab bt
Madrimov slipped one of the jabs and caught Barrera with
a left hook that put him on the mat. Madrimov followed
up with body shots for the rest of the round.
The next three rounds followed the same pattern:
Madrimov's southpaw stance and unconventional movement
allowed him to slip and duck Barrera's jabs and land
clean jabs and left hands to the head and body.
In round 5, Madrimov started on the offensive with jabs
to the body and hooks upstairs. Madrimov was landing at
will and Barrera couldn't connect or hold Madrimov in a
clinch. Madrimov was connecting at over 80%, most of
them power shots and the referee stepped in as Barrera
could not defend himself, declaring Madrimov the winner.
Madrimov did a backflip in the ring to a roar of
approval from the crowd as he extended his professional
record to 4-0.
The second undercard saw Ivan "The Beast" Baranchyk take
on Gabriel Bracero.
Ivan came out of the gate throwing bombs that caught the
eye but Bracero maintained his composure and started to
put together good combinations in the final minute of
Rounds 2 and 3 saw Ivan up the ante, stalking Bracero
unrelentingly and landing power shot after power shot.
Bracero's chin was holding up but he was offered nothing
meaningful offensively. At the end of round 3, both men
exchanged wild hooks and Bracero hit Ivan after the
bell, inviting a scolding from the referee.
In round 4, Baranchyk applied the pressure and Bracero's
head started to snap back after Ivan landed the hooks
and uppercuts. Baranchyk caught Bracero with a left hand
to the body that pushed Bracero against the ropes.
Baranchyk roared at his opponent and a jab and
right-hand combination that opened a cut over Bracero's
eye followed. Bracero fell to the canvas and managed to
get back on his feet but the referee had seen enough and
stopped the fight.
Super middleweight Ali Akhmedov had an early night
against Andrew Hernandez, scoring a knockout in 44
seconds of the scheduled 12 rounds. An overhand right 30
seconds in by Akhemdov put Hernandez on one knee and
Hernandez failed to make the count and the referee waved
it over to the delight of the Kazakh contingent in the
Hometown welterweight Brian Ceballo of New York scored a
third-round KO against Ramal Amanov of Azerbaijan. It
was one-way traffic throughout the fight and Amanov
looked outmatched on skill in this one. Ceballo landed
at will in the second round and by the third, the
referee consulted with the doctor and called off the
fight a minute and 20 seconds into round 3.
Another middleweight battle ended early as Polish
Middleweight Kamil Szeremeta of Poland needed only 2
rounds to see off Mexican Oscar Cortes. Szeremeta put
Cortes on the canvas in the first and followed up the
action in the second round with right hooks that sent
Szeremeta down and followed up with a right and left
hook that may have been considered late prompting the
referee to stop the fight and declare Szeremeta the
In a bizarre twist, Joe Ward lost to Marco Delgado in a
light heavy weight bout. Ward controlled the first
round, held center of the ring and established his jab.
He landed a few right hands as Delgado was on the back
Delgado started the second round more aggressively but
was soon back in the pattern of being pushed around the
ring by Ward's jab. 50 seconds into the round, Ward took
a step back to avoid a Delgado punch but dislocated his
left knee in the process. The referee stopped the fight
and Delgado was declared winner by TKO.
The first fight of the night was a brief affair; Nikita
Ababiy saw off Isaiah Seldon in less than two minutes
applying pressure from the bell and landing a flush left
hand that put Seldon on the mat. It was a scary sight as
Seldon required medical attention for several minutes
after the knock-out.