It’s clear that Gennady “GGG” Golovkin looked more vulnerable on Saturday October 5th against Sergiy Derevyanchenko than ever before. Many claim that it was Golovkin turning old overnight and the end of his aura as the middleweight division’s “boogeyman.”

Instead, it could be that GGG was just too sick to perform on par with his usual self. DAZN’s Brian Kenny mentioned before the bout that Golovkin was ill, and that it might play a role in the outcome.

It definitely could have.

Golovkin’s ring entrance was strange. He jogged to the ring at a brisk pace and had no official team members coming along with him. The only people surrounding him was a line of individuals holding flashing light beams for him to run underneath. The entrance ended in a flash, and GGG didn’t appear even slightly enthusiastic once he was inside the ring. He wasn’t looking right.

From the opening bell, Golovkin intended to make it a quick night. He knocked down Derevyanchenko in the 1st with a right hand that landed on top of the head. In the 2nd, GGG landed a jab that caused a bloody cut over Derevyanchenko’s right eye. While it looked to be Golovkin’s night, Derevyanchenko changed the tide and made the 2nd round close.

In fact, he went on to make every round close from there on out. Derevyanchenko threw constant combinations and utilized footwork to create openings throughout the match. From the 3rd round on, Golovkin was gasping for air and struggling to defend. GGG kept looking to land one big shot, and he wasn’t able to consistently throw combinations. In between rounds, GGG breathed hard and coughed up phlegm, spitting it into the bucket.

The crowd went nuts, perhaps watching the Fight-of-the-Year. It’s exciting to see the favorite struggle harder than anticipated. Fans also love an underdog. As such, Derevyanchenko far surpassed experts’ opinions.

But, the audience’s jubilance subsided when the final scorecards were read. One judge had 114-113 in favor of GGG, and the other two scored it 115-112 for GGG. After the verdict, the fans immediately booed.

Boxing fans had never scorned anything related to Golovkin’s success ever before. The crowd was upset about what they deemed to be poor scoring and possible corruption. After the fight, both fighters were sent to the hospital. Neither showed up to the post-fight press conference, and only managers and promoters were present for comment.

Lou Dibella, Derevyanchenko’s promoter, said “I’m not gonna use the ‘robbery’ word, but I know who [Sergiy Derevyanchenko] won the fight. I know who won the fight.”

Golovkin’s struggle could be attributed to a number of possible factors, but illness seems to be a main reason. When the going was tough in the middle rounds, he seemed out of it, lost. His performance was not an indication of sudden aging. He had a spectacular win against Steve Rolls in June, and nearly a year ago he arguably beat pound-for-pound star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

When one is sick, dehydration sets in more quickly than normal. This may explain why Golovkin tired so soon. He was gasping for air by the fourth round despite not having an incredibly high activity rate. GGG stays in the gym consistently throughout the year, and lives a spartan existence. It’s highly unlikely that he slacked off in training camp and wasn’t in shape for the fight. If Golovkin has another performance where he doesn’t look anything like he did in past years, then it might be time to say he’s getting old for a prize fighter. But for now, he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Believe it or not, being sick makes it hard to fight.

Source: Max Warren