Daniel Jacobs Defeats Sergiy Derevyanchenko By Split Decision
NEW YORK — Middleweights Daniel Jacobs and Sergiy Derevyanchenko could not have been more familiar with each other before their fight on Saturday night.
No. 1 challenger for world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. (They do not proclaim to be friends), they share manager Keith Connolly and trainer Andre Rozier (who stayed with Jacobs), and they sparred more than 300 rounds before they met for a big prize.
That showdown came before 4,691 at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, and it was as close as the sparring sessions are said to have been. Jacobs won a split decision and a vacant 160-pound world title.
Two judges scored the fight 115-112 for Jacobs, who notched a first-round knockdown, and one judge gave it to Derevyanchenko 114-113. ESPN.com also had it 115-112 for Jacobs.
Jacobs previously held a secondary world title, but now he has a major belt and in the deep middleweight division, where he is one of the top dogs. It was not easy against Derevyanchenko, who gave him a fiercely contested battle in which both fighters had their moments.
“He’s a true competitor,” Jacobs said. “I knew exactly what I was getting into when I took this fight. I take my hat off to him. Nothing but respect. I knew it would be hard, and I had to dig deep. I used my range and boxed on the back foot. Those are my best attributes.”
The fight — which headlined one of the final boxing cards on HBO, which is dropping its coverage of the sport at the end of the year after 45 years of involvement — came about when Gennady Golovkin was stripped of one of his world title belts for taking the September rematch with Canelo Alvarez rather than facing Derevyanchenko, the mandatory challenger.
Jacobs was next in line to fight for the vacant title, so when the fight was made, it was clear that Rozier, who has been with Jacobs for his entire career and considers him like a son, would train Jacobs. Gary Stark Sr., an assistant to Rozier with Derevyanchenko who also used to work as a Jacobs assistant trainer, took over as Derevyanchenko’s head trainer.
“Sergiy is one of the most skillful I’ve ever been in with, and he’s been avoided for a reason, but I wanted the strap, so I had to take it. It’s risk and reward,” Jacobs said.
Said Rozier: “This was what I always expected it to be. Being in the position I was in, both of my athletes made it very awkward, but I’m very proud of both of them.”
Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs) was controlling the first round with his jab when he backed Derevyanchenko near the ropes and landed a right hand on top of the head that forced Derevyanchenko to touch both of his gloves to the canvas for a knockdown late in the round. It was the first time he had been knocked down.
Derevyanchenko stalked Jacobs throughout the second round and got his attention when he forced him back with a left hand that knocked him off-balance.
Jacobs, 31, of Brooklyn, New York, used his jab well to keep Derevyanchenko outside while he looked to fire a right hand. Derevyanchenko tried to get inside and slam Jacobs to the body in a fight that was filled with tension.
“He looked gassed after five, and I knew I could let him load up and let him miss,” Jacobs said. “He didn’t really hurt me, but he’s tough as nails. He worked the body and kind of gassed me, but I know I have another level in me above him.”
The sixth round turned into a slugfest as they took turns landing hard shots, both of them going to the head and body until things cooled off mid-round. But Derevyanchenko was on his toes and connected with a pair of right hands later in the round. Jacobs came back with a good left hook in another round that appeared to be very close.
Derevyanchenko (12-1, 10 KOs), 32, a 2008 Ukrainian Olympian now fighting out of Brooklyn, was on the attack in the ninth round, trying to force Jacobs into the ropes and going hard after his body. But Jacobs responded with belly shots that backed him up. Later in the round, Jacobs landed a right hand that just missed nailing Derevyanchenko on the point of the chin.
There was a lot of back-and-forth punching in the 10th round as the crowd really got into the fight. But Jacobs, with his steady jab and fancy footwork, got the better of the action.
They slugged some more in the 11th round, but it was Jacobs, with his powerful right hand, who did the damage. Derevyanchenko, whose official purse was $462,500 but will make more, was taking big, deep breaths late in the round.
The pace did not slow in the 12th round. Derevyanchenko looked to land a power right hand, and he came close and roughed Jacobs up a bit in the round, but it was too little, too late.
“It was a very close fight,” Derevyanchenko said. “I knew that the knockdown could come back to bite me. But I felt like I was hurting him every round, controlling the action. Maybe I could have jabbed my way in a little bit more and gone to the body a little more.
“It was a great fight. He’s a tremendous competitor, and I’d like to fight him again soon.”
According to CompuBox statistics, Jacobs landed 181 of 578 punches (31 percent), and Derevyanchenko connected with 160 of 658 blows (24 percent).
With Jacobs’ contract with HBO expiring with the end of the fight, he likely is headed to new sports streaming service DAZN. His contract with promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing is also up, but Hearn has a lucrative, long-term deal with DAZN, which is now the home of unified middleweight world champion Alvarez, as well as the Hearn-promoted Demetrius Andrade, who won a vacant world title last week.
Even before Jacobs, whose official purse was $1 million (though he earned closer to $1.6 million because of his HBO deal), won on Saturday, there was ample talk that Jacobs would be Alvarez’s opponent in May, as long as Alvarez defeats Rocky Fielding for a secondary super middleweight belt on Dec. 15 at Madison Square Garden in the first fight of his record-breaking DAZN deal.
It’s a fight Jacobs wants.
“Only time will tell, but I really feel like I’m in my prime,” Jacobs said of what might be next. “I showed true grit tonight, and I had another tank in me. [As for Alvarez], absolutely. I think that’s the fight the fans want. This would be a great fight for the fans. Let’s make the fight happen.”
There is also Golovkin, who won a close decision over Jacobs in March 2017, and a rematch is a natural step. GGG is now a free agent with HBO leaving boxing, but that fight is not necessarily of huge interest to Jacobs at the moment.
“GGG is no longer a champion. I want to go after the champions,” Jacobs said.
That means unified and lineal champion Alvarez for what would be a mega fight in one of boxing’s most lucrative divisions.
Alberto Machado drops Yuandale Evans three times in Round 1 for a KO victory
Junior lightweight world titlist Alberto Machado’s nickname is “Explosivo” — Spanish for explosive — and he delivered on it big time on Saturday.
Machado dropped Yuandale Evans twice, including for a tremendous first-round knockout, to retain his 130-pound belt for the second time on the Daniel Jacobs-Sergiy Derevyanchenko undercard at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Machado, a southpaw, wasted no time, as he blasted Evans with a straight left hand that dropped him to his rear end.
Although Evans (20-2, 14 KOs), 29, of Cleveland, responded immediately by wobbling the Freddie Roach-trained Machado, he could not follow it up.
Machado (21-0, 17 KOs), 28, of Puerto Rico, landed a huge right hand that badly hurt Evans, and he put together a flurry of about a dozen unanswered punches before sending Machado to the canvas for good with another right hand. Referee Ricky Gonzalez called off the fight without a count at 2 minutes, 25 seconds.
“Right from the start, I knew he couldn’t hurt me,” Machado said. “I was very confident, and all my punches were working. Freddie and I work on so many things in camp, and I’m learning every day, getting better every day. My jab sets up my power shots, and I just let my power shots go, especially once my opponent is hurt like tonight.”
Machado, who earned $175,000 to Evans’ $75,000, won the belt in October 2017 by eighth-round knockout of Jezreel Corrales and retained it July 21 by shutout decision against mandatory challenger Rafael Mensah.
“I want all the big fights,” Machado said. “I will fight anyone and want to fight again very soon.”
Hardy wins vacant featherweight title
Heather Hardy and Shelly Vincent picked up where their rematch left off two years ago, as they produced another action-packed fight that had the same result: Hardy winning a decision.
The key difference this time was that Hardy collected a vacant women’s featherweight world title and did so in front of a hometown crowd.
Hardy won by scores of 99-91, 97-93 and 97-93. ESPN.com scored it 98-92 for Hardy, who defeated Vincent by majority decision the first time they met on Aug. 21, 2016, in Coney Island, New York, on an NBC Sports Net-televised undercard fight that stole the show.
In the rematch, they once again went straight to the center of the ring and began winging punches from the opening bell.
“Thanks to everyone on my team. It’s an unbelievable feeling to be a world champion,” Hardy said. “This time my technique was so much better. She wasn’t able to just run into me and attack. I moved, gave her angles. My jab was so much better. I felt in control the whole fight.
“I was in much better shape for this fight. Our camp was longer, and we were able to work on so much more.”
Hardy suffered a small cut over her right eye in the second round as they continued to throw wildly. Hardy seemed like she wanted to keep the fight on the outside, but Vincent smashed her way forward throughout the fight.
Hardy (22-0, 4 KOs), 36, of Brooklyn, New York, launched right uppercuts to try to keep the onrushing Vincent at bay and connected with several. Vincent continued to pressure her, but it was not overly effective. Hardy landed the much clearer and cleaner shots.
A brutal accidental head-butt opened a cut over Hardy’s left eye in the seventh round, and the ringside doctor took a long look at her between rounds.
Hardy rocked Vincent (23-2, 1 KO), 39, of Providence, Rhode Island, with a right uppercut in the ninth round and was firmly in control.
According to CompuBox, Hardy landed 206 of 622 punches (33 percent), and Vincent landed 148 of 683 (22 percent). Hardy also had an edge in body punching, landing 62 to Vincent’s 15.
They each earned $16,500, but Hardy got a win bonus of $2,500 added to her purse.
The bout was only the second women’s fight in HBO’s 45-year history of televising boxing. It aired the first one on May 5, when undisputed welterweight world champion and No.1 pound-for-pound Cecilia Braekhus made her American television debut in a hard-fought decision victory over Kali Reis on the Gennady Golovkin-Vanes Martirosyan undercard.
- Brooklyn, New York, welterweight Reshat Mati (2-0, 1 KO), who turned pro with a third-round knockout win on Oct. 6, had the crowd cheering him on as he won a shutout decision over against Juan Carlos Sepulveda (0-2-1), 23, of Puerto Rico, in a brawl. He won 40-35 on all three scorecards. Mati got hit a lot more than would be expected as such a touted amateur, but he also landed many punches and knocked Sepulveda down with a left uppercut in the third round.
- Russian welterweight prospect Radzhab Butaev (10-0, 8 KOs), known as “The Python,” laid a beating on Azael Cosio (21-8-2, 18 KOs), 37, of Panama, until the fight was waved off in his corner after the third round.
Butaev, who is trained by Joel Diaz and was 304-12 as a standout amateur, started fast by blasting Cosio repeatedly with overhand rights in the first round, and he never relented. He looked sharp, even though it was only his second fight of the year because of a shoulder injury. He wobbled with Cosio with another wicked right hand in the second round and continued to pound him until the fight was stopped.
- Junior middleweight Patrick Day (16-2-1, 6 KOs), 26, of Freeport, New York, was tested but won a virtual shutout decision over battle-tested former middleweight world title challenger Elvin Ayala (29-12-1, 13 KOs), 37, of New Haven, Connecticut. Two judges had it 100-90, and one had it 99-91 for Day, who won his fifth fight in a row.
Ayala, who challenged for a middleweight world title against Arthur Abraham in 2008 and suffered a 12th-round knockout loss, lost his fourth fight in a row and for the sixth time in his past seven but made Day work round in and round out.
- Lightweight David Oliver Joyce (9-0, 7 KOs), 31, of Ireland, and Jorge Rojas Zacazontetl (4-5-1, 2 KOs), 28, of Mexico, exchanged knockdowns, but Joyce prevailed by unanimous decision in a hard-fought battle. Joyce got dropped in the first round but came back to score a knockdown in the second round. He had Rojas Zacazontetl in terrible trouble late in the fifth round and wound up winning 58-54, 58-53 and 58-53 to hand Rojas Zacazontetl his fourth defeat in a row.
- Heavyweight prospect Bakhodir Jalolov (3-0, 3 KOs), 24, a 2016 Olympian from Uzbekistan now fighting out of Indio, California, stopped Tyrell Wright (9-2-2, ), 31, of Jersey City, New Jersey, at the end of the fourth round.
The 6-foot-6, 235-pound Jalolov, a southpaw who was 84-13 as an amateur and lost to eventual silver medalist Joe Joyce in the Olympic semifinals, dominated Wright. He attacked Wright with hard hooks to the head and body and dropped him in the fourth round with a left hand. He had him very wobbly from more shots as the round ended, and referee Harvey Dock waved it off in the corner at the conclusion of the round.
- Junior middleweight Steven Donnelly (4-0, 0 KOs), 30, of Northern Ireland, scored three knockdowns and cruised to a shutout decision over Ray Cervera (0-3), 27, of Fresno, California, winning 40-33 on all three scorecards of the opening bout of the card.
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