Former world-recognized Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KOs) defeated a game Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KOs) by a close and competitive 12 round unanimous decision on Saturday night on DAZN to capture the vacant IBF & IBO middleweight titles at Madison Square Garden in New York. Heading into the fight GGG was a heavy favorite, but Derevyanchenko nearly upset the betting calculator that came up with those odds.
The fight started in Triple G’s favor as he scored a flash knockdown in round 1 and then seem to cut Derevyanchenko with a punch in round 2. That cut was later ruled to be caused by a headbutt and it seemed to fire up Derevyanchenko who turned up his pressure of GGG and started working well to the body.
As the rounds went on, the flow of the fight stayed the same, with Derenyanchenko providing the pressure and GGG keeping pace and countering well. Heading into the final few rounds, the fight seemed in the balance and Golovkin sensing that, picked up his work rate and ended up winning both the 11th and 12th rounds to close out the fight.
After the final bell rung, there was some anticipation of the scorecards and both sides understood how close the fight was. The scores were 114-113, 115-112 and 115-113 all for Golovkin, who also captured the vacant IBO Middleweight title. While it did seem that GGG had done enough to get the victory, he did seem older and slower in the ring.
Having regained two belts in the Middleweight division, Golovkin has a lot of options, but one thing is clear, GGG is no longer the same force that he used to be and a rematch with Canelo Alvarez might now lean to the younger foe. The first two fights were close and a third fight is still the best next option for both, but time will tell if they face each other again and if they do, it will likely also show a shadow of a formerly great fighter.