But much like his bout nearly 12 months ago against fellow Brooklynite Danny Jacobs, Derevyanchenko came up short in a narrow decision loss to Gennadiy Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KO’s) on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in a second bid for a World Middleweight Championship.
Derevyanchenko, 33, was outpointed by GGG, 37, by scores of 115-112 twice and a solo tally of 114-113. Many in attendance thought Derevyanchenko deserved the nod for his resilience – bouncing back from a first-round knockdown and a second-round, headbutt-induced cut over his right eyelid – similar to his split decision loss to Jacobs, where he was also put down in round one.
Because of that, GGG was largely booed in his post-fight interview, which was drowned out by disapproval.
“Guys, come on guys,” Golovkin pleaded as the audience booed the final decision during his ringside interview.
“I want to say thank you so much to my opponent,” he said later in the evening. “This was a great job. I told you, he’s a very tough guy.
“This is huge experience for me,” he added. “I need to still get stronger in my camp, just more serious. I need to work hard, I need a little bit more focus.”
Golovkin subsequently acknowledged that despite the victory, the performance was far from his best showing.
“Right now it’s bad day for me,” Golovkin said. “I lost a little bit of focus. I told him, ‘Sergiy, this is best fight for me. It’s a huge experience.’”
For Derevyanchenko, he was gracious in defeat and found some level of solace in making it through the night in the matter in which he did.
“I feel great,” he said. “Thank you so much to all my fans, everybody who came to MSG. Thank you to my team. It was a great night of boxing.
“The cut really changed the fight,” he added later. “I couldn’t see at times, and he was targeting the eye. But no excuses, it is what it is. I was trying my best.”
Both said they’d be up for a rematch, which could be in the works even with Golovkin now owning both the IBF World and IBO title straps.
“Absolutely, of course I’m ready,” Golovkin said. “I’m a boxer, I’m ready for anything.”
“I would like the rematch if it’s possible,” added Derevyanchenko. “I’m ready.”
However, there’s been talk of a third bout with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who is moving up from middleweight to light heavyweight in a challenge directed at WBO crown holder Sergey Kovalev next month.
Golovkin, who believes he should’ve been declared victorious on both of his previous encounters with Canelo – GGG boxed him to a split decision draw in September 2017 and lost by majority decision last September – says he would also welcome that opportunity.
Perhaps more so, considering the level of vengeance he wishes to exact, along with money, championships and the fact that he turns 38 years old in April.
“I’m just open to anybody,” he said after he was asked if he would fulfill the final part of a trilogy with Canelo. “Everything is ready, just call Canelo. If he says yes, let’s do it.”