“If you look at them after the fight, who would you rather be? I had Derevyanchenko winning.”
–Sergio Mora, Live DAZN analyst, bless his heart, in perhaps the greatest oxymoron in boxing history from a broadcast perspective
To actually look at Sergiy Derevyanchenko after a cold war with Gennadiy Golovkin, at a loud and boisterous Madison Square Garden on a Saturday night filled with Eastern European spirit and passion, you’d have thought he’d spent 12 impossibly long rounds being dragged from Kiev, Ukraine all the way to Astana, Khazahkstan by new IBF/IBO middleweight champion. But our thoughts can betray us, just as looks can be receiving. Derevyanchenko was no more hurt by an opening round knockdown, in as much as Golovkin was badly hurt by a brutal left hook to the liver in the 5th. This was a modern Tony Zale Vs Rocky Graziano and every bit a classic. What a fight.
We know boxing is a game of inches, but it’s also a game of seconds; if Harvey Dock doesn’t get involved almost immediately after Derevyanchenko lands that Titanic sinking liver shot, we may have seen the impossible ship get sunk. Not that the “Old” O.G. would not have risen, but a possible knockdown there is the difference between a narrow UD going to Derevyanchenko as opposed to who I told you in the preview edition was no longer “Triple G” or “GGG” before this fight.
I tried to be cool about it, by giving him a sort of James Bond “00G” swag, but I really felt “Gennadiy” was adding that “i” in there to become his own man without Abel Sanchez around. Maybe even to deny anything resembling aspirational delusion. “00G” is simply an older, overachieving gangster in the ring now.
It’s quite possible that he’d find a way to gun down Derevyanchenko in a rematch, but I wouldn’t favor him. Not only has a Ukrainian version of Canelo Alvarez now seen him, but so has a brilliant trainer in Andre Rozier, twice, with both times believing his guy had won. I don’t think he’d lose a third time with either Sergiy Derevyanchenko or Daniel Jacobs.
This was a fight almost begging for unity to diversify this call fairly. A friend in media just ahead of me among press row turns around and makes eye contact, shaking his head ad nauseum with a face of frustration in between rounds. I forget which one, but he has a monitor in front of him, ostensibly, to monitor the DAZN broadcast. “The call. The call is terrible,” I manage to make out, not hearing a damn thing amid the raucous crowd. I’ve re-watched the fight by now and can understand the frustration. How I imagined a pairing of Steve Farhood, Max Kellerman and Andre Ward. They would’ve gotten people’s faces right after the fight, told you who they would’ve rather been (like the guy who that line actually comes from, maybe), and who most likely won the fight with a candid elegance that doesn’t feel corporate.
“Rematch? Absolutely. Big fight for DAZN, for the people, of course I’m ready. I’m a boxer, I’m ready for anything,” said Gennadiy, not failing to slip any questions at all, unlike shots Gennady wouldn’t have even allowed to be fired.
I thought he lost that fight, which is the first time I can say that. Barely but true. Truer still, is that he’s lost so much of what he fairly won against Canelo. Twice. Time, however, will always have a father that gives way to infinity. Fighters know that. Close calls with Ukraine seem common these days, but at least the Genghis Khan of the game won the war of himself along with a battle now behind him. But what of tomorrow and any battle in front of him? How much farther can he go in war without himself?
And while the worriers laugh the warrior sings; right now it’s about who gets the last laugh. And the fat lady is ready to sing.