Opinion | Aug 23 2019

Golovkin vs Derevyanchenko – The Overthinking Game

Canelo is left in the past tense as Golovkin and Derevyanchenko face off for the first time, writes Jack Hirsch
Gennady Golovkin
Gennady Golovkin  |  Noah K Murray/USA Today Sports

The scene we have seen many times. The location never matters and neither do the fighters. It is legalized brainwashing. Welcome to the world of the press conference. The latest, a rushed affair, took place yesterday (August 22), in the lobby of Madison Square Garden to announce the October 5, Gennady Golovkin vs Sergiy Derevyanchenko show that will be held in the main arena.

It started out as a love fest with the press conference’s host Eddie Hearn teasing Derevyanchenko’s promoter Lou DiBella about the red blazer he had on. “You know it’s a big fight when Lou comes in dressed like that” he said.

From there the compliments flew around the room making one yearn for a small dose of Angel Garcia.

“Is there a fighter who gives more value for the money than GGG?” said Hearn. “I haven’t found him yet.” Of course, Golvkin’s new deal with DAZN in which he will be promoted by Hearn had nothing to do with the enthusiastic pronouncement.

The love fest was just getting started. The trainers Andre Rozier (Derevyanchenko), and Jonathan Banks (Golovkin) described their relationship as being like family. DiBella said that Derevyanchenko will be the third best fighter Golovkin ever faced, presumably putting Canelo Alvarez and Danny Jacobs 1-2. Kell Brook’s supporters would dispute that. Derevyanchenko’s manager Keith Connolly professed to be a big GGG fan and was careful not to antagonize him.

Gennady Golovkin
Golovkin seems to have his swagger back Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports/Action Images

Tom Loeffler who handles GGG’s affairs spoke of his man’s brand and how he sells out arenas all over the world. It will be Golovkin’s seventh fight at Madison Square Garden. He is the draw, the one responsible for the event being as big as it is. Derevyanchenko understands this. New York is his hometown yet Golovkin will have considerably more crowd support on fight night.

Derevyanchenko never looked comfortable to me at this presser. He smiled and said the right things, but was not at ease as was GGG. That view was confirmed afterward when Derevyanchenko spent very little time being interviewed, making a quick exit with his small entourage in tow.

The men have known one another from way back when they were amateurs. They are not friends, but friendly. The men laughed right after their obligatory stare down.

“I am a little scared because this is a real fight,” said Golovkin trying to build up his opponent and lead the public to believe he might actually lose. GGG has the delicate juggling act of promising his trademark Big Drama Show and building up his opponent at the same time. Canelo Alvarez’s name came up, but only in past tense. Golovkin’s swagger is back. The man who made 20 successful defences of the world middleweight championship is title free at the present time, but he is already visualizing his next championship reign starting with taking Derevyanchenko’s IBF belt.             The press conference achieved it’s objectives. We were left to wonder if at 37, Golovkin is on the decline. Then we switched to the comparison game of Derevyanchenko nearly beating Danny Jacobs, who in turn nearly beat Golovkin. Derevyanchenko is a live underdog we will hear over and over in the lead up to the event. And that is the idea, to get us to overthink a fight, for when we do the temptation to predict an upset becomes irresistible.

That’s what press conferences are for.

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