By: Sean Crose
Saturday night, at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut, middleweight contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko will be facing WBC middleweight champ Jermall Charlo in a highly anticipated Pay Per View main event. This fight looks to be close enough on paper that few are expressing confidence that one man will dominate over the other. In this strange era, where even a single loss is seen as a sign of limited ability, the undefeated Charlo should be seen as having a distinct edge heading into the weekend. Derevyanchenko’s two losses, however, have come at the gloved fists of highly regarded fighters. For the Ukrainian has only been bested by Daniel Jacobs and Gennady Golovkin respectively.
What’s more, both of those fights were intense affairs. Suffice to say, Derevyanchenko made Jacobs and Golovkin earn their paychecks. The Golovkin fight was particularly close. Charlo will enter the ring on Saturday with little doubt in his mind how dangerous his opponent will be. “He’s going to bring a lot of power and speed with good technical skills,” the defending champion has said of Derevyanchenko in the leadup to this Saturday’s fight.
Then again, Derevyanchenko isn’t exactly writing Charlo off, either. According to the challenger, Charlo represents more of a challenge than Canelo Alvarez would have. That might seem like just talk – until one realizes Derevyanchenko has been in line to face Canelo as recently as a few months ago. In fact, Derevyanchenko has spent the past several years playing the role of dangerous opponent due to the fact that he’s always “in the fight.” Yet keeping up with more popular fighters in the ring can sometimes only take a contender so far. Derevyhanchenko must truly prove his mettle if he’s to beat the highly skilled Charlo.
No matter which way Saturday’s bout turns out, it’s clear the middleweight division is on the verge of entering a new era. Canelo, perhaps wrapped up in legal issues, may be too advanced in his career to continue making weight at 160. Golovkin, on the other hand, is no longer as young as he was. Jacobs has moved up in weight, as has Billy Joe Saunders. With the enigmatic Demetrius Andrade being perhaps the only member of the old guard ready to fight as a natural middleweight in prime form, the stage is being set for a new ruling class within the division. The question for Derevyanchenko is whether or not he can blast his way into its ranks.