In the process of recapturing a portion of the Middleweight Championship Saturday night, Gennady Golovkin faced an all-too-familiar reality: he’s getting older and he’s not the same fighter that he was before.
In fairness, Golovkin was good, especially early, in his 12 round unanimous decision win over Sergey Derevyanchenko to capture the IBF Middleweight Championship at Madison Square Garden.
“Triple G” scored a first-round knockdown and had Derevyanchenko backing up in the first few rounds of the fight.
However, as things wore on, his younger, tough opponent began to wear down the now 37-year-old former Undisputed Middleweight Champ. And therein is something unavoidable for Golovkin and most any of boxing greats (with the apparent exception of Manny Pacquiao), “Father Time” erodes everything.
Whether it’s your reflexes, your agility or your conditioning, you simply are not the same fighter once you advance past 35 years of age and or start stepping through the ring ropes for a 35th or 40th time or more, as Triple G did Saturday.
Golovkin looked like that fighter for the second half of Saturday night’s battle. Derevyanchenko scored well, particularly to the body, on several occasions. And, his combinations were getting through against a former great, who earlier in his career seemingly never got hit as fights wore on, if they didn’t end early.
Final Punch stats showed that Derevyanchenko had hit Golovkin 230 times- the most ever, by far, in any of his fights. And, that includes his two controversial 12 round decisions against Canelo Alvarez.
Sure, there were reasons (excuses) being given, as to why Golovkin, who likely would have kayoed Derevyanchenko easily, early in 2016 and certainly in 2014, didn’t do so last night. Like this for example:
🏥 Eddie Hearn has told media that Gennady Golovkin was ill heading into last night's fight against Sergiy Derevyanchenko. The promoter added that GGG "wasn't overly motivated" to face the Ukrainian who he beat by close decision.
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) October 6, 2019
Again, it’s a win and it gives Golovkin some leverage back holding a portion of the Middleweight crown, but whether the next opponent is WBO champ Demetrius Andrade or someone else, we are left to wonder that if he doesn’t score the early knockout, will we see more of what we saw down the stretch of Saturday night’s close fight?
Likely, we will.