By: Hans Themistode
When one door closes, another one opens. And in the case of Sergiy Derevyanchenko, two have opened at the same time.
The middleweight contender is currently sitting at a table in his home mulling over two championship offers. The first is from WBC belt holder Jermall Charlo for a showdown that would take place roughly in September or October. The second is from pound for pound star Canelo Alvarez. Their possible showdown would go down on September 12th.
For Derevyanchenko, there are pros and cons when facing off against either man. In the case of Alvarez, the middleweight contender would have not only one of the premier faces of boxing standing across from him, but also a four division world champion. If Derevyanchenko were to go in that direction though, he would be giving Alvarez a weight advantage as their matchup would be contested at 168 pounds. Placating the Ukrainian born Derevyanchenko for moving up to another weight class however, would be a large sum of money as Alvarez could represent a career high payday.
If the former title challenger bypassed the option of moving up in weight and instead took on Charlo, he would feel more at home at 160 pounds. Nevertheless, the comfort of fighting at his ideal weight would be compromised as he would be giving up three inches in height along with six inches in reach against Charlo.
For Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KOs), he believes that his empty championship mantle at home should already be occupied by the IBF world title. The middleweight contender took on reigning belt holder Gennadiy Golovkin for the vacant strap in October of 2019. Derevyanchenko was dropped in the second round, but ultimately rallied in the second half of the contest.
Head trainer Andre Rozier along with many of the fans that were in attendance at Madison Square Garden in New York City, were incredulous when Golovkin was given the close unanimous decision victory. Unfortunately Derevyanchenko, that wasn’t the only time he came up on the wrong end of a close championship decision.
The scene was familiar for the Ukrainian in October of 2018. He once again found himself fighting for the vacant IBF title. His opposition on the night was former champion Daniel Jacobs. Much like Derevyanchenko’s contest against Golovkin, he was forced to pick himself up off the ground due to an early knockdown, but rallied back during the second half. The early deficit once again cost him on the scorecards as he lost a split decision.
Still, even with two championship losses on his resume, Derevyanchenko ranks number one in the WBC sanctioning body. Charlo’s trainer in Ronnie Shields, recently revealed that Derevyanchenko is the “frontrunner” to take on his fighter next.
With lopsided wins in each of his past five contests at middleweight, Derevyanchenko could present Charlo with his toughest matchup to date. The Houston born native was last seen in the ring in December of 2019 against Dennis Hogan. On the night, Charlo handed his man a Christmas present in the form of a highlight reel seventh round knockout.
As for Alvarez, he has already seen his time at 160 pounds truncated once he was given the opportunity to take on Rocky Fielding for his WBA Regular title in December of 2018. Alvarez would go on to show exactly why their contest was a mismatch as he delivered on a third round knockout. In his next contest, he would drop back to 160 pounds to snag the IBF belt from Derevyanchenko conqueror Daniel Jacobs, before ultimately moving up to 175 pounds to stop Sergey Kovalev for his WBO strap in the 11th round.
Neither Charlo nor Alvarez will be forced to wait long for an announcement. Derevyanchenko is determined to make his choice some time this week. Should he go in the direction of Charlo, Alvarez could opt for a showdown with former WBC super middleweight titlist Anthony Dirrell. If however, Derevyanchenko goes in the other direction, Charlo could see himself in a matchup with Chris Eubank Jr.