By Allan Fox: Daniel Jacobs (34-2, 29 KOs) and Sergiy Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) are 17 days away from their clash on October 27 on HBO for the vacant IBF middleweight title at Madison Square Garden in New York.
This is the title that the International Boxing Federation stripped from Gennady Golovkin recently after ordering him to make the defense against IBF mandatory Derevyanchenko by August 4, which was impossible for him to do at the time. Golovkin was in negotiations with Saul Canelo Alvarez for a September 15 rematch, so there was no chance of him defending the IBF title against Derevyanchenko in August. Instead of the IBF giving Golovkin some leeway by allowing the rematch with Canelo first, they stripped him of his title. The result is Jacobs and Derevyanchenko will fight for their vacant title. It’s not a good deal for the IBF, because they’ll wind up with a less popular champion than the one they had before in GGG. Jacobs was already beaten by Golovkin last year.
Jacobs, 31, needs to fight better against Derevyanchenko than he did in his previous fight against Maciej Sulecki last April. Although the judges gave Jacobs a fairly wide win on the score cards in giving him a 12 round unanimous decision, the fight was largely decided by a 12th round knockdown of a desperate Sulecki.
As of now, Jacobs-Derevyanchenko is scheduled as the last fight for HBO before they go out of the boxing business after 45 years of televising fights. There’s still an outside chance that Saul Canelo Alvarez’s fight against WBA ‘regular’ super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding for their December 15 fight. Jacobs was bothered by Sulecki’s size and high work rate the entire fight. If the Polish fighter was blessed with punching power, he would have had Jacobs in trouble.
Derevyanchenko is a bigger puncher than Sulecki, and capable of knocking Jacobs out if he’s able to land his shots. Jacobs will very likely box Derevyanchenko and stay on the move like he did in the GGG fight. That might not be the best plan for Jacobs to win, but he’s the A-side in the fight being signed with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA, so the chances are that if the fight goes the distance, Jacobs will be given the decision like in his previous fight against Sulecki.
Hopefully the scorecards make sense for the fight, because Jacobs did not deserve a win over Sulecki by the scores 116-111 and 117-110 in the view of a lot of boxing fans. Those scores were in outer space. Those kinds of scores indicate that Sulecki never stood a chance of beating Jacobs other than knocking him out. The Jacobs-Sulecki fight took place in Jacobs’ hometown of Brooklyn, New York. Since the Jacobs-Derevyanchenko fight will also be taking place in New York, it’s in Derevyanchenko’s best interest to make sure the judges don’t get a chance to score the fight.
Even though Derevyanchenko now lives in Brooklyn himself, he’s not from there originally and he’s not signed with the lead promoter Eddie Hearn. Derevyanchenko is a 2008 Olympian from Ukraine, and he’ll be viewed as the visiting fighter by the pro-Jacobs crowd. All you can do is hope the judges score the fight in a more logical manner than they did Jacobs’ last fight against Sulecki. With scoring like that, Derevyanchenko will absolutely need a knockout to win. That would obviously taint Jacobs’ win and ruin the final fight on HBO, but that’s how it goes in boxing unfortunately.
HBO will be highlighting the training of Derevyanchenko and Jacobs in their training camps in a preview on October 13, titled, ‘Road To Jacobs-Derevyanchenko,’ starting at 10:20 p.m.
With Jacobs being the bigger name, he’s likely going to have a tremendous advantage over Derevyanchenko when it comes to the scoring for the fight. Since judges seem to frequently give the A-side fighter generous scoring of rounds, Jacobs has a very good chance of beating Derevyanchenko if it goes to the cards. Granted that Jacobs wins the vacant IBF middleweight title, a fight between him and Canelo Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) is a big fight for boxing. You can’t say the same thing for a fight between Derevyanchenko and Canelo. That fight won’t resonate nearly as much with the U.S boxing public.
Derevyanchenko being from Eastern Europe, it might remind the fans of Canelo’s two controversial fights against Golovkin in which he appeared to lose both fights but was questionable scoring in Nevada. Derevyanchenko is likely going to need to knock Jacobs out to get the win on October 27. Whether Derevyanchenko knows that or not is uncertain, but hopefully his trainer and management has impressed this upon him so that he doesn’t go into the fight with the illusion that he can win a decision over Jacobs. Derevyanchenko is the B-side fighter facing the house guy in Jacobs fighting in in his hometown of New York. It’s bad for Derevyanchenko any way you want to look at it.
Jacobs is another one of Eddie Hearn’s salvage projects in signing a guy coming off of a loss to Golovkin, and then rebuilding him with a couple of wins over beatable guys in Luis Arias and Sulecki and then getting him a fight for the vacant IBF middleweight title stripped from GGG. Hearn is very lucky that the IBF stripped GGG, because if Jacobs had to beat him to win the IBF title, he likely wouldn’t have been able to do it. Jacobs wanted no part of Golovkin in the first six rounds last year in 2017.
When Jacobs finally did start to fight hard in the second half of the fight, he still appeared to lost four out of the last six rounds, but fortunately for him the judges gave him five of the last six. After this writer watched the Golovkin-Jacobs fight three times consecutively, there wasn’t more than two rounds that I could give to Jacobs in the second half of the fight. He was too defensive, and not willing to stand and trade in way that a challenger needs to for him to unseat a champion.
Jacobs looked good at times against Golovkin. He moved well, but he wasn’t able to maintain his aggressiveness for more any length of time. Physically, Jacobs seemed capable of making it a fight, but mentally he was too weak and timid to beat Golovkin. Jacobs was controlled by Golovkin’s jab when he was on the outside, lumped up and outworked. For the judges to give Jacobs the decision, it would have required them to ignore his long periods of passivity.
Derevyanchenko has recent wins over these fighters: Dashon Johnson, Tureano Johnson and Kemahl Russell. Tureano is on par with Jacobs in terms of talent. Derevanchenko took care of Tureano with ease in out-boxing and out-slugging him to get a 12th round knockout in August of 2017. If that version of Derevyanchenko shows up 17 days from now on October 27, Jacobs is going to be in for a tough time trying to see the final bell. The judges won’t likely have a chance to score the fight if Derevyanchenko fights like that.
Jacobs has won two out of his last three fights with victories over Sulecki and Luis Arias. Jacobs had a tough time beating Sulecki in a fight that looked to be a draw going into the 12th. As I mentioned, the scoring by the judges was badly slanted in Jacobs’ favor despite Sulecki having gotten the better of him in at least six rounds. The knockdown of Sulecki in the 12th was the deciding factor in Jacobs winning the fight.