Despite hurdles, Danny Jacobs vs. Sergiy Derevyanchenko moves forward
There won’t be that many more heavily anticipated face-offs in the boxing calendar year of 2018, judging by fan comments.
The Danny Jacobs vs. Sergiy Derevyanchenko middleweight mash-up will determine who will win the vacant IBF strap, last around the waist of WBA/WBC beltholder Gennady Golovkin.
This will be the stiffest test on paper for the Brooklyner Jacobs, age 31, since he was tasked with facing “GGG,” back in March of 2017. That was, arguably, the best Jacobs has fought, or maybe only a shade worse than when he came out like a rabid bat and ate up Peter Quillin in December 2015.
So do we know WHEN the IBF title will find a new home? October 20, October 27 or maybe November 10, a source in the know tells us.
HBO will be the platform provider, being its has an exclusivity deal with Jacobs (34-2, 29 knockouts).
Some chatter has touched on the fact that this event is made a bit curious since Jacobs and Derevyanchenko are trained by the same man, Andre Rozier. That sticky situation will be smoothed out by the decision made by Rozier to stay in the corner of his guy Jacobs, and have Gary Stark Sr., his tutorial partner, corner the Russian Derevyanchenko in camp and on fight night. Another talking point, moreso in the deep insider realm, has to do with the fact that Keith Connolly, a New York-based finance guy, advises both Jacobs and Derevyanchenko.
We reached out to Connolly to get a better sense if that set-up made life more difficult for him.
First off, Connolly told us it’s looking more likely that Madison Square Garden, which housed the GGG vs. Jacobs rumble, will land the Jacobs vs. Derevyanchenko-topped card. Eddie Hearn, the British deal-maker, promotes Jacobs, so he’d be leading the charge in putting the whole event together.
“I don’t think Barclays (Center, in Brooklyn) has the availability,” Connolly told me. “Listen, I’m happy the deal got made. There’s been some controversy about them fighting each other but this is too good an opportunity for each man, and they’re fighting for a title, for them to pass up.” Connolly said he explicitly asked each if he’d like to pass, if they’d like him to steer away from this intra-familial scrum. No, both told him. We are ready to rumble; they each stated. “It’s too good of an opportunity, what with the winner likely to have the chance to fight Golovkin within a year or so.”
Connolly said hammering out particulars for the fight, and that mainly means purse numbers, was made less complicated by the fact that Jacobs’ HBO deal has a mandated purse price. So that meant Connolly needed to find a sweet spot for the Russian, financially, and that occurred. The adviser laid out Plans B and C to both boxers, other potential options at 160, in case they didn’t want to go this route, set forth by the IBF, the sanctioning body which deliberated long and hard on what to do about that 160-pound crown, being that GGG is tied up with Canelo Alvarez, thus unavailable to meet the IBF top contender (Derevyanchenko is ranked No. 1, Jacobs No. 2) in timely fashion. So contingencies involving Demetrius Andrade, WBO beltholder Billy Joe Saunders, or Martin Murray for Derevyanchenko, were deemed immaterial by both Jacobs and the Russian. “I mean, it looks like BJ Saunders doesn’t want to fight anybody,” Connolly noted.
In my view, the sport is a small fraternity, so occasionally situations will see “teammates” facing off, or promoters putting together fights that feature two people under their umbrella. Ideally one wants to see fewer rather than more of these deals probably because no one wants even the appearance of conflicts. But it sounds to me like Jacobs, Connolly and Derevyancehnko all went into this situation with eyes wide open, as adults able to form their own opinions. I don’t take issue with the Team Connolly vs. Team Connolly construct. “(Top Rank CEO Bob) Arum puts Top Rank guys against each other; Al Haymon’s guys fight each other, so why is there a problem if two of my guys fight? And besides, the IBF ordered this,” Connolly stated.
Derevyanchenko will be making a career-best purse, so I haven’t heard any ripples of discontent from his side. “I wasn’t conflicted, at the end of the day. It’s a great fight; both guys wanted it. May the best man win,” Connolly said.
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