Sherdog’s Weekend Boxing Preview

By James Kinneen Oct 4, 2019
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WHAT: Sergiy Derevyanchenko vs. Gennady Golovkin, Middleweights
WHEN: Oct. 5
HOW TO WATCH: Dazn, 9 p.m. ET
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Because GGG is ready to move on from Canelo and start his, new trainer and new style led second act. But at 37 he may be too old for a talented New York resident looking to win the belt he barely missed out on last time.

It’s 2019, they’ve already fought twice, and yet we are once again talking about Canelo Alvarez ducking GGG. In boxing it appears, the more things change the more they stay the same. But while guys like Eddie Hearn are claiming if GGG goes out and looks amazing the pressure from fans will be so strong Canelo will have to fight him again, that’s nonsense. If the pressure from Dazn and Oscar De La Hoya isn’t enough for Canelo to even entertain a third GGG fight, there’s nothing a Derevyanchenko win could do for that issue.

So GGG should move on. And, to his credit it appears he has. This will be Golovkin’s second bout under new trainer Jonathan Banks, and Golovkin has promised that while he will still be “big drama show,” he is going to bring a new style into this fight. He’s also started talking about taking on the big names at 168 (though rumors are Ryota Murata is next if he wins), and by all means appears to be moving onto his second act, no longer chasing an Alvarez fight but carving his own path away from the Mexican superstar.

But the thing about second acts is they usually happen when you’re old, which at 37, GGG kind of is. This weekend, he will face Derevyanchenko in a fight (for the vacant IBF middleweight title) that isn’t getting as much publicity as it should. Derevyanchenko is 33 and fought in the 2008 Olympics for Ukraine. As a professional, he was 12-0 until he fought Andre Rozier stablemate Daniel Jacobs (Rozier was in Jacob’s corner) for the then vacant IBF title, and lost a split decision. Since then, he has Rozier back in his corner and bounced back from the Jacobs loss with a unanimous decision win over Jack Culcay. Also, while far from as well-known as GGG, with the fight taking place at Madison Square Garden it is possible the Brooklynite will be the fan favorite (or at least, it will be closer than in the usual Golovkin fight).

In his fight against Daniel Jacobs, Derevyanchenko applied consistent pressure and made Jacobs box. While we haven’t seen much of GGG under Banks, it’s hard to think he won’t be coming forward which could make this fight a fun, action packed bout. Derevyanchenko has stopped ten of thirteen opponents, most notably Tureano Johnson. So, while Canelo (which was rumored but panned on social media) likely would have boxed him up, a fight with GGG should be more interesting.

At 37 years old, is this the beginning of GGG’s new Canelo-less second act, or is the second time the charm for Derevyanchenko’s shot at the IBF title? We’ll find out.

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WHAT: Israil Madrimov vs. Alejandro Barrera, Junior Middleweights
WHEN: October 5
HOW TO WATCH: Dazn 7PM ET
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: To see why Joel Diaz believes with only three professional fights under his belt, Madrimov is good enough to beat a 154-pound champion right now.

Who is Madrimov and how is he on the undercard of a GGG fight at Madison Square Garden? He’s not from Ireland or Puerto Rico, but from Uzbekistan? And wait, he’s only 3-0 as a professional? What’s going on here? Well, famed trainer Joel Diaz, known for training guys like Abner Mares, Timothy Bradley and Ruslan Provodnikov likes to make predictions. But while he’s been right (he predicted his fighter, Bradley, would beat Manny Pacquiao and wrong (he thought Matthysse was going to stop Danny Garcia), he’s always been seen as giving his honest assessment of things. So when he was asked about his fighter, Madrimov, he said, “I can tell you one thing … put Madrimov in with Jaime Munguia, and Munguia will not last six rounds. Right now!” He also cautioned: “Don’t blink on this kid. Madrimov is the next superstar in the sport, I guarantee.” You can bet that whether it’s true or not he means it.

While these statements are usually reserved for a fighter with at least twenty professional fights, Madrimov is just 3-0. However, in those three fights he’s stopped Frank Rojas (the only other fighter to do so is Jose Benavidez Jr.), and Norberto Gonzalez (who has fought guys like Jermall Charlo and Terrell Gausha). More importantly, as an amateur he won a gold medal at the 2017 and 2018 Asian Olympic Games. In the ring, he mixes going Southpaw and fighting orthodox very effectively. This was best seen against Rojas, where he connected with a right uppercut from the orthodox stance, then shifted into a southpaw stance where he knocked him out with an overhand left.

This weekend, his opponent will be Mexico’s Barrera. Barrera is 1-3 in his last four fights, but has only been stopped by Errol Spence Jr. In his last fight (which also took place at Madison Square Garden), he lost a decision to undefeated Dominican Carlos Adames. Still, at 29-5 he will bring the majority of professional experience into the fight and should be a good measuring stick of how much power Madrimov has.

Diaz thinks Madrimov is good enough to beat the champions at 154 pounds right now, and Dazn thinks he’s good enough to five him a highly coveted spot on the undercard of a GGG fight. Is he? We’ll have to see.

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WHAT: Ivan Baranchyk vs. Gabriel Bracero, Junior Welterweights
WHEN: Oct. 5
HOW TO WATCH: Dazn 7 p.m. ET
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Because despite how he looks on paper, Bracero is not a guy you book as a confidence builder, steppingstone or surefire victory. Artemio Reyes learned that the hard way. Has Baranchyk made the same mistake?

After getting dropped twice and losing a decision to current 140-pound IBF Champion Josh Taylor in the World Boxing Super Series, Baranchyk is looking to bounce back from his first ever professional loss this weekend. His opponent is little known Puerto Rican Bracero. Baranchyk is well-known. He was ESPN’s No. 11 prospect in 2016, and as a professional has wins over Petr Petrov and Sweden’s Anthony Yigit. The 37-year-old Bracero, meanwhile, lost to Paulie Maliggnaggi in 2016, Felix Diaz in 2015 and Demarcus “Chop-Chop” Corley in 2012. So, while he has won 25 fights, his age, lack of knockout power (he only has six stoppages) and consistent history of coming up short against bigger names makes him the perfect bounce back opponent for Baranchyk. Right?

Absolutely not. See, the people behind Artemio Reyes looked at all Bracero’s issues and came away with that impression, so when Carlos Adames sprained his foot and had to pull out of the fight, they put Bracero (who was in shape from sparring with Robert Easter Jr.) against their man. This was a huge mistake, and Bracero demolished their fighter, stopping him in five rounds. Interestingly, it was Bracero’s second early stoppage in four fights (he knocked out Danny O’Connor in just 41 seconds). In his last fight, Bracero showed that despite how easy a win he looks on paper, he is not someone just showing up for a paycheck. Artemio Reyes and his team made that mistake already. We’ll see if by making him their bounce back opponent after a disheartening loss, Ivan Baranchyk’s team has made the same one.

* * *

WHAT: Claressa Shields vs. Ivana Habazin, Women’s Junior Middleweights
WHEN: Oct. 5
HOW TO WATCH: Showtime, 9 p.m. ET
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: To see if Shields can bring a little hope back to Flint Michigan or Habazin can give Shields her first, and Flint just another of many Ls.

In case you haven’t noticed, things aren’t going great in Flint, Michigan. Just this month, PBS put out an article talking about how while the EPA says the water in Flint is finally safe to drink, “scientists aren’t so sure.” Apparently, there has been insufficient testing to determine if the water (which has already directly led to twelve deaths from Legionnaire’s Disease) is actually safe enough for the mayor to declare it safe for consumption. This is to say nothing about the poverty issues the city has struggled with since General Motors laid off so many of its employees more than 30 years ago.

So, while Flint needs a lot more than a sporting event to get itself together, it would be great if the people of Flint had something to cheer about. Enter hometown girl, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and undefeated, undisputed middleweight champion Shields. This weekend, Shields is returning to her hometown’s Dort Federal Event Center to face Croatia’s Habazin, for the vacant WBO Junior Middleweight title. Habazin is 20-3 with losses to Cecilia Braekhus, Mikaela Lauren (who stopped her) and Eva Bajic.

This should be an easy win for Shields (who some already consider the greatest female fighter of all time) and a feel-good story. Unless Habazin can pull something off, get a victory, hand Shields her first loss, and give Flint another of many.

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WHAT: Jaron Ennis vs. Demian Daniel Fernandez, Welterweights
WHEN: Oct. 5
HOW TO WATCH: Showtime, 9 p.m. ET
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Because “Boots” Ennis needs to make sure everybody understands he’s must see TV, and he has the opponent to do so against.

Did you see “Boots” Ennis’ last fight live? Unless you were inside of the Central Park Community Center in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, you didn’t, because despite being seen as a future star, and despite having headlined Showtime cards before, Ennis’ fight didn’t make the Showtime broadcast. Ennis is too big a star to keep off TV. He has to make sure that never happens again.

This weekend, Ennis will be on the undercard (Shields is both a champion and from Flint, so it’s not a slight) of the Showtime broadcast, where he will take on Argentina’s Daneil Fernandez. At 22 years old, Philadelphia’s Ennis is 23-0 with 21 knockouts. Fernandez is 12-1, with his sole loss (and stoppage) coming to a currently 4-4 fighter with no picture on Boxrec.com.

Ennis is young and exciting. He’s flashy (this is the type of outfit he wears into the ring), fun and extremely talented. In a fight he should look great in, he has to make sure he forces Showtime to never consider not having him on television.

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