As our own Michael Woods has previously reported, the team for IBF middleweight mandatory challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko badly wants Gennady Golovkin, the IBF titleholder, to face their man on May 5, and they are still pushing.
From Derevyanchenko manager Keith Connolly via ESPN:
“Now that Canelo-Golovkin has been called off the IBF mandatory is due. Sergiy has worked his whole life to earn a mandatory position and I will be doing everything in my power from a legal standpoint to protect my client’s rights. I feel very comfortable in our legal position that we are owed the title shot immediately. Sergiy is ready to fight Golovkin now. If he chooses not to fight us the IBF should strip him and we will fight whoever is next in the rankings for the title.”
Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KO) is an interesting contender, and arguably the most fitting opponent of all the names that have been mentioned as possible for May 5. Jaime Munguia was shut down by the Nevada commission, and Spike O’Sullivan is out of the running, too. Billy Joe Saunders won’t be ready to go on May 5, nor should anyone expect him to be.
That leaves Derevyanchenko and Demetrius Andrade for those who have expressed interest. It’s perfectly understandable that Golovkin and his team might not want to fight Andrade, a southpaw with an entirely different style from Canelo Alvarez, the man Golovkin was preparing to face.
But Derevyanchenko is a righty, about the same size as Canelo, different style, sure, but not so drastically that I think it’s undoable. Plus he’s owed the title shot, and his team want it.
The bare reality of the situation may be that Golovkin isn’t going to fight May 5. They wanted him to keep the date, but when Munguia got turned down, that might have been it. They wanted to keep the date, but without taking a real risk, and Derevyanchenko may be more of a real risk than they’re willing to accept.
Personally, I don’t see that as shameful — Derevyanchenko is a really good fighter, and if I were Gennady Golovkin, I’d want proper time to prepare for him, too. But if they’re gonna pull the plug on May 5, with Nevada clearly not willing to let him fight just anyone, it’s probably time to do it, and then figure out the next step, be that setting up a Canelo rematch in September, facing Derevyanchenko in a mandatory at a later date, vacating that belt, or whatever.