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WHO WON the WEEKEND? Can Win For Losing

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One good thing about seeing a guy who maybe deserved to win is then remembering that to help diminish his sadness, Sergey Derevyanchenko will get a check for about $5 million for fighting Gennadiy Golovkin at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.

After the decision was rendered, and he finished his initial eruption–bless his passionate heart and soul–promoter Lou Dibella took queries from media, and made clear that he was pained his kid didn’t get that W. But, I said to Lou, your guy’s stock rose, even in the loss. “Fuck the stock rising shit, man,” Dibella said. “It’s still a business, and you gotta get the win, and if you get the win your whole life changes. Yeah his stock rises, but I always knew he was a great fighter.”

So, did that great fighter win the weekend, according to the NYF Squad?

“I thought Sergiy Derevyanchenko won it because he didn’t lose it,” said John Gatling. “I had him edging new IBF/IBO middleweight champion and all-time great Gennadiy Golovkin by a score of 114-113. Derevyanchenko, who needs a credible nickname badly ladies and gentlemen, is a scrapper; a 160lb mosquito that refuses to be repelled and bites with sting. Golovkin will be scratching his head for awhile after this.”

DAZN won the weekend,” said Kelsey McCarson. “This was a weekend with DAZN going head-to-head against Showtime. There was a time when Showtime was one of the biggest networks in boxing. Lately, it seems like that group has been relegated to second-tier status, and that point was driven home when Showtime’s main event between Claressa Shields and Ivana Habazin was canceled because of the pre-fight weigh-in altercation that left Habazin’s trainer hospitalized. DAZN’s bout between Gennadiy Golovkin and Sergey Derevechanko was a heck of a fight, and I can’t imagine anyone seriously interested in boxing not having a subscription by now. Meanwhile, I’m not sure Showtime is that good a value anymore if the only reason you subscribe to it is for boxing. There simply isn’t enough boxing content on the channel, and it doesn’t look like that’s about to change anytime soon.”

GGG and Derevyanchenko won the weekend,” said David Phillips. “Oh, you think you had the fight of the year Errol Spence and Shawn Porter? Well, do I have a tall ass beer to hold for you! The big story here to me, is this is two straight weekends with two great fights. The kind that as a boxing fan, you can defend your affection with no apologies. When done right – that is to say great match ups betwixt hungry fighters – you get the best of everything. Top tier human combat between two equals. GGG is old, but he’s not yet OLDE. Derevyanchenko was just a little short. A rematch is a must.”

Russell Peltz! A great night of fights honoring a living legend, and the guys on the call weren’t too bad either,” said Emily Pandelakis.

Boxing fans won the weekend,” said Rachel McCarson. “Instead of being treated to a one-sided beatdown, we got another competitive match with Golovkin vs. Derevyanchenko. If this is becoming a trend in boxing, I’m excited.”

Derevyenchenko made GGG look old,” said Jay Bulger. “What a tough kid. Most inspirited performance I’ve seen in forever. 

“With all due respect to Jay Bulger (oodles of it), I cannot credit Derevyanchenko for making GGG look old. GGG looked old, late, dulled against Jacobs (so did Jacobs, at times) and against Canelo on both occasions — has been slower and a shell of his former self for the last two years,” said Gabe Oppenheim. “Granted, his former self was so irrepressibly brutal that in his diminished state he can still handle Steve “Pillsbury” Rolls and Vanes “I signed with Don King…uh, oh” Martirosyan.

He can still make it look to the outside world like the drama show is minimally altered. But that’s not so. Power is the last thing to go — and Golovkin’s knockdowns of Jacobs and Derevyanchenko testify to that. But the knockdowns also obscure all the other facets of GGG’s game that have gone (reflexes, foot speed, durability under duress). It’s why he keeps going 12 full rounds with real fighters instead of ending their nights early. He can’t cut off the ring quite the same, or find fistic pathways to opponents’ heads without a hitch in timing. He can’t walk through oncoming blows either. Take away the knockdowns, and you can see he has lost to Jacobs, Derevyanchenko and, at least once, to Canelo.

Oscar De La Hoya may have personal issues, but he basically predicted GGG would slow down by 2017 to me — in 2015 and 2016. Oscar wasn’t gonna make the matches with Canelo until that slowing. And I believe Golovkin’s recent record supports Oscar’s prognostication. 

And part of what Oscar knew is that Golovkin’s style was going to be his downfall. And I chalk that up to Abel Sanchez entirely — no matter that GGG has now ditched him. It’s far too late in the game for a switch to matter. Golovkin can’t change who he was fundamentally trained to be in the ring and even if he could, no current defense can prevent past abuses. And he’s suffered plenty of hurled hotshots — from Gabe Rosado a bit to Kell Brook (both smaller men) to Jacobs and Canelo. Lots of dudes have hit GGG hard. Walking through those shots means you’re tough, rugged — but not impervious. All beatings have a toll, even if it’s felt in a delayed way, even if it’s cumulative instead of acute.

Maybe Golovkin always would have ignored good defense or forgotten to parry. Maybe he never would have cared to try fighting going backward. But Sanchez surely didn’t teach him any of those techniques. His emphasis on some mythical, non-existent Mexican tradition of walking straight ahead hurt Golovkin a tiny bit at the beginning, somewhat several years ago and a great deal now. Golovkin’s finer motor skills are impaired. The only reason this hasn’t blown up sooner is that Golovkin does have, as mentioned earlier, a granite chin. But the way Abel Sanchez trained Alex Saucedo — conditioning him to be in superlative shape without coaching him in fine technique — leading to Saucedo’s destruction a year ago against Mo Hooker — that’s the same way Abel taught Golovkin.

It’s not even teaching — just hardcore conditioning. Crossfit at altitude (incidentally, training at altitude without sleeping at increased oxygen levels is apparently not even sound conditioning, according to the studies shared by Victor Conte).

But the point here isn’t to dog Jay, Abel, GGG. It’s to say this is the end of the road for GGG. The power will remain but the delivery device — his body — will only continue to crumble. I’m of the same opinion as retired middleweight Andy Lee. GGG should retire — if not now, then maybe after a fight with Boo Boo Andrade or Billy Joe Saunders (credit to my pal Ryan for suggesting BJS, whom I’d forgotten existed). Beyond that, I don’t need to see GGG in with anyone to further my understanding of his game. We’ve seen it all from GGG already — and whatever we see going forward will only be a fraction of that.

And so, to answer the question fully: The PAST won the weekend. It was always poised to come back and take a W — perhaps we didn’t know quite when. But t’was inevitable.”

Sergiy Derevyanchenko lost the fight but won the weekend,” said Jeremy Herriges. “It was a close contest and hard to score at times, but I saw Derevyanchenko winning that bout. My opinion doesn’t change the record, but Derevyanchenko’s performance demonstrated that he’s an elite fighter. According to CompuBox, he threw 18 more punches than Golovkin and landed 13 fewer. Derevyanchenko controlled the pace of the fight from the third round on, and hurt Golovkin several times to the body. His punches had just as much power as Golovkin’s, and his boxing skills were a cut above. He deserves a rematch, although he probably won’t get it. Derevyanchenko is a star who’s one mesmerizing performance away from reaching his full potential.”

“Sergiy Derevyanchenko won the weekend,” said Alden Chodash, “despite once again falling short on his quest to win the IBF middleweight title. Having been cut and floored early in front of an overwhelmingly pro-GGG Garden, “The Technician” could’ve easily capitulated and acquiesced to Golovkin’s greatness. But he didn’t. In fact, he did things to GGG that we’ve seldom seen done before. He aggressively took the fight to Golovkin, landing more power punches than any other fighter had, and even hurt the granite-like GGG with a ferocious attack to the body. When’s the last time anyone saw GGG hurt? Referee Harvey Dock was so shocked that he made a bogus low blow call which saved GGG from further punishment. Regardless of how you had the fight scored, Derevyanchenko’s gutsy, spirited effort is more than enough to win the weekend, and surely enough to keep himself among the upper echelon of the middleweight division. Hope he is not discouraged here, as he fought his ass off to just come up empty.”

Me, I’m going with the “loser.” Derevyanchenko I thought was a 70-30 or at best 60-40 underdog. But he impressed heavily to the upside, and deserves full on credit, not to have his output diminished by talk of GGG’s illness.

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About Michael Woods

Michael Woods

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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