It was anything but a sparring session between former sparring mates Danny Jacobs and Sergey Derevyanchenko, who battled over 12 spirited rounds at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, in New York City. And after 36 minutes of high-level combat, Jacobs came away with the vacant IBF middleweight title.
It was a hard-fought affair and while Derevyanchenko closed well against his stablemate in the late rounds, Jacobs had built a substantial early lead with his superior athleticism and more well-rounded offensive arsenal.
After scoring a knockdown in the first round, Jacobs was able to stay a step ahead of the Ukrainian throughout much of the fight, with his hand speed and footwork. Derevyanchenko was game throughout and he certainly made it interesting down the stretch but it seemed like Jacobs had done more than enough to get his hands raised in victory.
So now what?
Jacobs joins Demetrius Andrade (WBO) as a beltholder in the middleweight division but the true recognized champion is Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who defeated Gennady Golovkin in their September 15 rematch for the WBA and WBC titles. Beyond all that, Canelo is the star of the division and all the most lucrative roads lead to the Mexican star.
Belts absolutely matter but not so much to Alvarez, whose profile supersedes the need for any titles.
For the time being, it’s not clear if Jacobs or Andrade face Alvarez any time soon. The reality is Andrade fought in a half-empty building in Boston, last week, and Jacobs, despite his Brooklyn roots, fought in the small room of the Garden this past weekend. What they have going for them is that they are on the right side of the street, as it relates to platforms, as Andrade is on DAZN and Jacobs (who is promoted by Matchroom Boxing USA) will soon be on there too, with HBO Sports bowing out of the sport.
If you want to face Alvarez, you have to be on DAZN alongside him.
Armed with an 11-fight, 365 million dollar deal which kicks off on December 15, as Alvarez takes on the nondescript Rocky Fielding in a super middleweight bout at MSG – the big room, mind you – it has to be asked what motivation there really is for Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions to face Andrade and Jacobs with this new pact.
Also where does this leaves Gennady Golovkin, currently a network free agent, who is still very much a marketable commodity? Then there is the dangerous Jermall Charlo, who is aligned with Premier Boxing Champions and realistically may not even be in the picture to mix it up with the other marquee middleweights, for the time being. Rob Brant is now a player in the division, while Billy Joe Saunders is currently sidelined after testing positive for PED’s prior to his scheduled outing versus Andrade. David Lemieux is a perennial mainstay at 160 and he might have the inside track at Alvarez, given he’s under the same promotional banner.
There’s a plethora of quality middleweights currently. The question is, just which fights will actually be made?
Basically that will be up to Canelo.
On the latest episode of “The 3 Knockdown Rule,” Mario Lopez and I welcome Tom Loeffler and undisputed female welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus in-studio:
The improvement of WBA 130-pound titlist Albert Machado, who blew out Yuandale Evans in one round on Saturday night, under the guidance of trainer Freddie Roach, is really noticeable…Anyone see how swollen and bruised Anthony Yigit’s left eye was during his fight versus new IBF junior welterweight titlist Ivan Baranchyk?…It is now officially a “train wRicht” in Miami with that offense…Clemson seems to be the only team capable of really challenging Alabama…”Hollywood Fight Nights” is back at the Avalon in Hollywood, on Tuesday, and yes, Doug Fischer and I will be on the call and will be in Halloween costumes…I can be reached at email@example.com and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.