On Saturday night in New York, the Wall Street brokers and coffee house hipsters give way to hard-headed boxers Gennady Golovkin and Sergiy Derevyanchenko as they pummel each other in the pit of Madison Square Garden for the middleweight championship of the world.
On the undercard, super lightweight contender Ivan Baranchyk can blast past tough Puerto Rican Gabriel Bracero to get back in contention for belts, while over in Michigan, the women’s most fearsome fighter Claressa Shields aims to dish out a beat-down to win a title in yet another division.
With ‘Canelo’ Alvarez targeting titles in heavier divisions, one of his old middleweight belts is being recycled and given to the winner of Golovkin-Derevyanchecko. Veteran slugger ‘GGG’ is a big 1/6 favourite to regain the championship, but it would be a mistake to write off the Ukrainian.
Golovkin is the former unified champ who knocked out every opponent he faced between 2008 and 2016, but in 2017 he drew with Canelo and the following year, he lost the rematch with the ginger Mexican on points.
Derevyanchenko only turned pro in 2014 after an impressive amateur career, and he narrowly lost his first shot at the world title to Daniel Jacobs in 2018. ‘Triple G’ edged a decision over Jacobs the year before but that represents his last decent win.
Since his first defeat, the Kazakh destroyer has lost some of his fear factor and now that he’s 37 you have to believe he’s lost some of his snap. Derevyanchenko is strong, he’s got great schooling and he’s a big puncher – and you can get 22/1 on the draw on Saturday.
The underdog is known as ‘The Technician’ and he’s like a 160lb Vasyl Lomachenko. He has also shown power – KO-ing 10 of his 14 opponents – but Golovkin has never been stopped or even dropped.
I expect both fighters will land regularly on each other, but if Derevyanchenko can avoid Golovkin’s big shots he can rack up the rounds on the judges cards. The Ukrainian is long odds to win by decision – but that’s what I’m backing.
Bet of the bout: Derevyanchenko on points at 6/1.
Baranchyk is back after losing his world title to Scotland’s Josh Taylor in May and he needs a win over seasoned Puerto Rican Bracero to get back to challenging for trinkets. Paddy makes the Belarusian banger a huge favourite to take the win in New York.
Bracero is a solid guy who’s only lost three times but he’s 38 now and he’s been inactive for more than a year. 26-year-old Baranchyk has the nickname ‘The Beast’ and he can force the finish in the second half of the bout.
Bet of the bout: Baranchyk by KO in rounds 6-10.
America’s Claressa Shields is doing unprecedented things in boxing – she’s won two Olympic gold medals and in only nine pro fights she’s claimed world titles in two divisions. This weekend ‘T-Rex’ goes for a belt in a third weight class and if she wins she’ll probably go down as the GWOAT.
Women’s boxing isn’t stacked with top talent and Habazin is a very average boxer. Shields is moving down in weight but she shouldn’t loss any energy or power at super welter, and I think the Michigan boxer can get the stoppage in the later rounds.
Bet of the bout: Shields by KO in rounds 6-10.
*Prices correct at time of publishing but can change