Quijano: Human after all

Jingo Quijano

ARE we seeing the start of an inevitable decline for Gennady Golovkin? At age 37, GGG was pushed to the limit last weekend by Sergiy Derevyanchenko and won via unanimous decision in a bout many thought GGG was lucky to win.

This fight came about after Canelo Alvarez was stripped of the belt after failing to meet the deadline to fight Derevyanchenko, his mandatory opponent. Instead, Alvarez opted to jump two weight classes to face light heavyweight Sergey Kovalev in November.

DEREVYANCHENKO. Many writers didn’t think much of the stocky Derevyanchenko, but perhaps they should have taken a second look at his split decision loss to Daniel Jacobs two fights back.

Jacobs, himself an elite fighter in the division, lost via close but unanimous decision to GGG in March of last year. That Derevyanchenko engaged him in a life-and-death struggle should have been warning enough of how tough an opponent he could be.

In the first round, he went down after an uppercut and a glancing blow to the head. This did not deter him even after Golovkin opened up a cut above his right eye in the next round.

It was a brutal donnybrook, an all-out brawl that featured several difficult rounds to score. In the end, I think the scores (114-113, 115-112 twice) were all on point.

GGG. It was bound to happen at some point. We all know that Golovkin’s legendary reputation has been forged by his capacity for extreme brutality.

That hale, vigorous fighting style that had many opponents bowing down in painful defeat. He was almost always the stronger, tougher opponent.

But against Derevyanchenko, that appeared only to be marginally correct.

The Ukranian was dangerously resolute, bouncing back everytime GGG hurt him. He took time to regroup and soldiered forward again, some kind of an apparition that would not go away no matter how hard you hit him.

Of course, the same can be said of GGG’s approach. Can it now finally be said that he is human after all?

For a long time, many thought the best way to neutralize Golovkin was to fight him smart and slick and to outbox him. The stocky, muscular Derveyanchenko would have none of that and decided he would fight fire with fire and showed GGG he was just as feral as him.

After the fight a jubilant but somewhat philosophical GGG took the close call in stride and admitted that it was a learning experience for him.

But at 37 years, what kind of learning does he have to take in? At what price the spectacle, the cost of glory?