HBO Boxing Insiders Eric Raskin and Kieran Mulvaney reflect on Saturday night's HBO World Championship Boxing tripleheader, featuring Daniel Jacobs' hard-fought win over Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Alberto Machado's explosive first-round knockout of Yuandale Evans, and Heather Hardy's grudge match victory over Shelly Vincent.
Photos: Ed Mulholland
By Kieran Mulvaney
NEW YORK -- Daniel Jacobs knew it wouldn’t be easy.
“Sergey Derevyanchenko is a true competitor,” he said after he battled his way to a hard-fought split decision win over twelve hard-fought rounds. “I knew it would be hard and I had to dig deep. I knew exactly what I was getting myself into.”
What he got into was a bruising, draining encounter with former training partner Derevyanchenko, who recovered from a first round knockdown to pressure Jacobs constantly, ensuring the American could not relax for even a minute and pushing him all the way in a contest that displayed the defensive acumen of both men as well as their explosiveness.
It briefly seemed as if they would act out a different script as Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs) backed Derevyanchenko to the ropes in the first round, unleashed a pair of right hands to the body and then landed a huge right to the top of the head that caused the Ukrainian to tumble forward and touch his gloves to the canvas. Derevyanchenko beat the count, and Jacobs sought to press the advantage, but with just 10 seconds remaining in the round the moment had passed.
Indeed, it was Derevyanchenko (12-1, 10 KOs) who came out for the second round showing the greater purpose, closing the gap on the taller New Yorker and firing fast combinations in close. Jacobs, showing poise and skill, slipped and parried much of the Ukrainian’s assault, as he did in the third; but Derevyanchenko was warming to his task now and by the fourth was flying at Jacobs with relentless abandon. Jacobs, though, remained calm, and it was he who landed the biggest shot of that fourth round in the form of a big right hand that made his opponent’s legs do an involuntary dance.
This now was the pattern of the fight: Derevyanchenko pressing, advancing; Jacobs slipping, blocking, watching, and landing fierce blows as his foe came forward. This was boxing of the highest level, exemplified by a sixth round in which each man launched bombs at each other even as they both slipped under the artillery that came their way. The seventh and eighth saw both men digging in deep and fighting in the trenches, throwing and receiving hard, punishing blows; but by the ninth, Jacobs seemed to be settling into a comfort zone as he smothered the Ukrainian’s attacks and kept him at range.
Derevyanchenko was not finished yet, however, eking out the tenth courtesy of a left-right combination that landed cleanly. Back came Jacobs in the eleventh, blasting his opponent with massive right hands. And both men emptied their gas tanks in a furious twelfth that an exhausted Derevyanchenko shaded from an equally gassed Jacobs.
Judge Julie Lederman saw Derevyanchenko as the winner, by the slimmest of 114-113 margins, but was overruled by Tom Schreck and Steve Weisfeld, who scored the bout 115-112 for Jacobs.
“He’s a strong competitor,” said Jacobs. “He’s as tough as it gets. He worked the body tremendously, but I showed true grit. He is as tough as it comes. He is one of the most skilled competitors I’ve ever been in the ring with, and that includes Gennady Golovkin. But now we absolutely want to fight Canelo. That’s what the fans want. Let’s make that fight happen.”
In super featherweight action, Miguel Cotto protégé Alberto “El Explosivo” Machado lived up to his nickname by dropping Yuandale Evans three times and finishing him in the very first round of a scheduled 12-rounder. Evans (20-2, 14 KOs), whose only previous defeat was also a first-round knockout, started brightly as he worked behind fast combinations, but about halfway through the frame, Machado calmly threw out a southpaw jab and followed it up with a straight left that sent Evans onto his trunks.
Evens beat the count and willingly re-entered the fray, but a Machado hook stiffened him and sent him staggering backward. Machado (21-0, 17 KOs) plowed forward and unleashed a torrent of punches with Evans against the ropes, sending him tumbling forward and casing his gloves to touch the canvas for a second knockdown.
The fight could easily have been stopped then, but referee Ricky Gonzalez allowed it to continue. It did not do so for long, another Machado right hook detonating on Evans’ jaw, sending him crashing on to his back and prompting Martinez to wave a halt to proceedings. Official time was 2:25.
In the opener, Heather Hardy repeated her 2016 win over Shelly Vincent; but, unlike their first encounter, which went her way by majority decision after a close contest, the verdict was this time unanimous. It was also relatively comfortable – if that word can rightly be applied to a tough 10 rounds in which Hardy had to repel the constant onrushing advances of Vincent (23-2, 1 KO) and picked up a nasty gash over her left eye, courtesy of an accidental head butt, in the process. But Hardy (22-0, 4 KOs) simply had too much skill for the determined but limited Vincent, taking advantage of superior footwork, punch variety, and boxing fundamentals to strafe Vincent as her opponent charged forward. Hers were the cleaner, sharper punches throughout, and the 97-93 verdicts of Glenn Feldman and Kevin Morgan were accurate representations of the action, although Alan Rubenstein’s 99-91 card might have been closer to the mark. Even so, Vincent never stopped coming, and Hardy would have ended the evening feeling the effects of a tough fight.
By Kieran Mulvaney
NEW YORK – Sometimes, it’s personal.
It was always personal for Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales, who loathed each other for a variety of reasons before they exchanged a solitary punch and detested each other ever more with each blow they swapped. It was personal for Oscar De La Hoya and Fernando Vargas, for reasons that years later still seem oddly trivial and petty. If it wasn’t personal between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez the first time around, it certainly was during the build-up to their second meeting, a boiling geyser of resentment, anger and accusation.
Sometimes, though, it is not.
Most of the time, in fact, personal antipathy is not part of the equation. Hard as it may be for lesser mortals to truly comprehend, professional boxers rarely enter the ring with any deep-seated animus toward the person in the opposite corner. Even as they seek to remove their opponents from consciousness, they see them not as hated enemies but merely as rivals: obstacles who must be overcome on the road to success.
It isn’t personal, in other words. It’s business.
It’s the phrase that’s uttered more frequently at pre-fight press conferences than any other except, “Camp was great,” “I’m in the best shape of my life,” and “I’d like to thank [insert promoter/manager/TV network/deity].”
“This isn’t personal. It’s just business.”
Rarely has that aphorism been more appropriate than for Saturday night’s main event, when Daniel Jacobs takes on Sergiy Derevyanchenko in middleweight action from the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden (HBO, 10 PM ET/PT). When Ukraine’s Derevyanchenko came to the United States and elected to base himself out of New York, he was introduced to Andre Rozier and Gary Stark, who train fighters together out of a small basement gym in Brooklyn. Among the boxers who had long been a part of that setup was Jacobs. The two men have sparred 300 or so rounds, by Jacobs’ reckoning, and as they both moved up the middleweight rankings, they knew that the day may come when they had to face each other.
That day will come on Saturday, and once it became clear that it would, trainers and fighters had a decision to make. The decision was that Rozier would stick with Jacobs, whom he’s known since the boxer was 14; and that Stark would work the corner of Derevyanchenko. Rozier has made no effort to hide the awkwardness of the situation, confiding that he speaks to Stark most days and that he has, on occasion, confessed to Derevyanchenko that, “You know I don’t like this, right?”
As if to discourage any concerns that the contest might devolve into a lovefest, Jacobs has emphasized that his relationship with Derevyanchenko is primarily professional – that, in his words, “We’re not friends, exactly.”
But if such concerns do exist, they are misplaced. The ability of boxers to compartmentalize their emotions is borderline superhuman; the risks inherent in their business are substantial, and opportunities to be at the top of the tree come by far too infrequently to allow any relaxation or dropping of the guard. Even friendship has rarely prevented pugilists from beating each other to a pulp.
After all, few uttered the “It’s not personal, it’s business” line more frequently than Manny Pacquiao, who would smile benevolently at his opponent, giggle at the fake antagonism during the ritual face-off, and then leave that same opponent poleaxed, with senses scrambled, on the ring canvas. Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti did not become the best of buddies until their trilogy was completed, but they were friendly even as they battered each other.
For Jacobs and Derevyanchenko, the stakes are too high for either to be less than fully committed to being as effectively violent as possible: possible matchups with Golovkin or Alvarez, or any number of high-profile, lucrative and career-defining fights in the upper echelons of the middleweight division. Jacobs underlined as much at the final pre-fight press conference, even as he acknowledged the unusual circumstances of the matchup.
“To see these guys on the opposite side of the ring come fight night, it’s going to be bittersweet,” he conceded. “We all knew each other for a very, very long time, so it’s almost like we’re family. But this is why we do it. For the love of the sport: for you guys, and your entertainment. You’re not going to want to miss this fight. It’s going to be a stellar fight.”
Weights from New York City:
Daniel Jacobs: 159.6 pounds
Sergiy Derevyanchenko: 159.4 pounds
Alberto Machado: 130.0 pounds
Yuandale Evans: 129.4 pounds
Heather Hardy: 124.6 pounds
Shelly Vincent: 125.4 pounds
HBO Boxing Insiders Eric Raskin and Kieran Mulvaney preview Saturday's middleweight showdown between Daniel Jacobs and Sergiy Derevyanchenko, the headline bout of a World Championship Boxing tripleheader from Madison Square Garden.
In a rematch of their epic 2016 match, Brooklyn’s Heather “The Heat” Hardy (21-0, 4 KOs) and Shelly “Shelito’s Way” Vincent (23-1, 1 KO) will clash once again on Saturday, October 27, at the Hulu Theater from Madison Square Garden. The scheduled 10-round bout, for the vacant WBO Women’s Featherweight World title, will open a sensational tripleheader televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10 PM ET/PT.
Previously announced on the telecast, Daniel Jacobs (34-2, 29 KOs) and Sergiy Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) will battle for the vacant IBF World Middleweight Title and Alberto Machado (20-0, 16 KOs) will face off against Yuandale Evans (20-1, 14 KOs).
“I’m so excited and so honored to be fighting on HBO,” said Hardy. “Shelly and I have wanted a rematch since the first fight ended and it’s fitting that it’s on this huge card and will be telecast on HBO from Madison Square Garden. The first fight was one of the very best of 2016 and the rematch will start right where we finished off.”
Said Vincent emphatically about the world title bout and prospect of winning the title belt, “I’m not leaving without my property!”
“I was thrilled to call Heather and Shelly and let them know that their rematch will be telecast on HBO,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “I have to give a lot of credit to Peter Nelson and HBO for advancing women’s boxing by stepping up to air this fight.”
“The first fight between Heather and Shelly was an outstanding, back-and-forth battle, reminiscent of the Gatti-Ward fights that I co-promoted. I anticipate nothing less when the bell rings for the rematch. October 27 is a stacked card, in the intimate setting of Hulu Theater from Madison Square Garden, and I encourage as many fans as possible to join us live.”
Fighting on August 21, 2016, in Coney Island, NY, and in a nationally telecast bout, Hardy won a hard-fought majority decision over 10 rounds. Hardy has since won three additional fights including two victories versus former world title challenger Edina Kiss. Most recently, Hardy scored an eight-round decision against Iranda Torres on April 21, in Brooklyn.
A native of Providence, RI, Vincent has stayed busy with five wins since her loss to Hardy, the only defeat of her eight years as a professional. As a result of her performance against Hardy, the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame named her their “Fighter of the Year” for 2016, with Vincent becoming the first female recipient of that award. In her last bout on July 21, Vincent took home an eight-round decision victory against Calista Silgado.
HBO Boxing presents Road to Jacobs/Derevyanchenko, an special examining the 160-pound title showdown between Daniel Jacobs and Sergiy Derevyanchenko set for Saturday, Oct. 27 at Hulu Theater from Madison Square Garden in New York. The encounter will be televised live on HBO.
The Road to Jacobs/Derevyanchenko special will premiere Saturday, Oct. 13 at 10:20 PM (ET/PT) on HBO. It will preview the powerhouse meeting between two ring warriors who have been on a journey to confront each other in the ring. The special will provide all-new content including portraits of both fighters’ path to this significant fall showdown.
Jacobs, known as “Miracle Man” when he returned to the ring after being successfully treated for bone cancer, has a glittering record of 34-2, 29 KOs. Jacobs looks to regain a middleweight title and put himself a-top of the division. Born in the Ukraine and now based out of Brooklyn, NY, Derevyanchenko has knocked out 10 of his 12 opponents. A touted amateur, Derevyanchenko compiled an astonishing record of 390-20. Both fighters have been trained by Andre Rozier but for their Oct. 27th showdown, Rozier will be in Jacobs’ corner while Gary Stark Sr. mans the corner for Derevyanchenko.
The special will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and partners’ streaming platforms.
Mark your calendars. Daniel Jacobs takes on Serigy Derevyanchenko October 27 with a middleweight title on the line. Plus, Alberto Merchado defends his super featherweight crown against Yuandale Evans.
The doubleheader goes down on October 27 at 10 pm on HBO.
Daniel Jacobs and Sergiy Derevyanchenko will clash on Saturday, October 27 at the Hulu Theater from Madison Square Garden in New York. The event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10 PM. ET/PT.
Jacobs, (34-2, 29 KOs) fighting out of Brooklyn, NY, is in hot form having taken the unbeaten records of Luis Arias and Maciej Sulecki in his last two outings at the Nassau Coliseum, Long Island and Barclays Center, Brooklyn respectively, punctuating his win over Sulecki with a knockdown in the final session.
The ‘Miracle Man’ is gunning to regain his World champion status having lost his WBA crown to Kazakh star Gennady Golovkin in a tight unification tussle in March 2017 in New York, and with Golovkin and Mexican hero Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez meeting in a rematch in September, Jacobs is hunting down the winner.
Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) has his own designs on those blockbuster nights though. Born in Feodosia, Crimea, Ukraine, and now based in Brooklyn, NY, Derevyanchenko was a touted amateur, compiling an astonishing record of 390-20, as well as a 23-1 ledger in the World Series of Boxing, and representing Ukraine in the 2008 Olympics, before turning pro in July 2014. Known as “The Technician,” Derevyanchenko is fundamentally sound with superb reflexes, deft defense and devastating power, having stopped 10 of his 12 professional opponents thus far.
In a final IBF eliminator for mandatory status, Derevyanchenko proved he could carry his power into the later rounds, halting Tureano Johnson in the 12th and final frame of their August 2017 clash. One year earlier, Derevyanchenko knocked out former world champion Sam Soliman, becoming only the second man to do so, inside two rounds in July 2016, in an IBF elimination bout for the #2 ranking. While awaiting his title shot, Derevyanchenko dusted off the experienced Dashon Johnson in six stanzas in his last bout on March 3.
Jacobs and Derevyanchenko are familiar foes as they both hone their skills with trainer Andre Rozier, who will be in Jacobs’ corner and camp for the bout, but Brooklyn hero Jacobs doesn’t believe that will play a part in their clash – and predicts a triumphant return to World champion status in a tough fight. Gary Stark Sr. will take over head trainer responsibilities for Derevyanchenko as he prepares for his first world championship opportunity.