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  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 of Derevyanchenko.

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 body.

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 round 1.

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.

Other Fights

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 audience.

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 winner.

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 foot.

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.


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