2:00 Billy Joe Saunders still wants to fight GGG
It took the Kazakhstan banger a 37-fight winning run to finally earn the major occasion and rewards that his growing reputation deserved, only to fall short according to the ringside officials. That is their job – only one of six combined judges scored either of the Canelo fights in his favour but debate continues to rage about the true winner.
Nothing can change Golovkin’s performances in those fights, which were memorable in their own right. The moment that he ate a monstrous Canelo overhand right on the side of the face but did not budge an inch became a viral internet clip.
A trilogy fight and an opportunity to readdress the two blips on his otherwise perfect record seems a million miles away, with Canelo first set to face Sergey Kovalev and making clear his disinterest in renewing his rivalry with Golovkin.
So what is left in Golovkin?
He is now 37, without a significant victory in two-and-a-half years, and has split with Abel Sanchez, the trainer who led him through the glory years where he became a formidable middleweight champion.
The warning signs are there.
Derevyanchenko will have noticed, too. He has been a quietly dangerous threat at 160lbs for some time – Golovkin was stripped of the IBF belt a year ago for refusing to fight him, and instead pursuing Canelo.
Ukraine’s Derevyanchenko, a former Olympic team-mate of Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk’s, instead slipped to his only career defeat against Daniel Jacobs (who Golovkin outpointed in 2017, representing the end to his 23-fight stoppage streak).
The 2019 version of Golovkin is backed by promoter Eddie Hearn and a new trainer in Johnathon Banks, the protege of the Kronk Gym’s Emmanuel Steward and former overseer of Wladimir Klitschko.
Victories in the past two years have been limited to blowouts of Vanes Martirosyan and Steve Rolls, but this weekend’s rival will be a far sterner test.
Golovkin has never been on the floor in 391 fights, pro and amateur. Boxers do have a nasty habit of ageing very quickly inside the ring but Golovkin should still possess enough of a thump to dispose of Derevyanchenko and remind us all why, for so many years, he was the most feared fighter alive.