The bout was for the vacant IBF middleweight title, the same championship that Golovkin was stripped of a year ago for failing to accept a mandatory defense against Derevyanchenko, instead opting to rematch Alvarez after their first bout ended in a draw.
Golovkin absorbed more punishment than ever before in surviving a heart-stopping challenge from Sergiy Derevyanchenko to regain the IBF middleweight champion by a unanimous decision, a verdict that left many in the crowd dissatisfied.
The Kazakh was unconvincing but did enough to be awarded a win by the judges, who scored it 115-112, 115-112 and 114-113 in his favour at Madison Square Garden in NY.
Although Golovkin sent Derevyachenko down in the first round, the Ukrainian recovered quickly and looked very impressive during the entire fight.
This is not the first time that Golovkin has been criticised by boxing fans. Derevyanchenko did an excellent job throughout the fight of cutting the ring off and not allowing Golovkin to use his 37-year-old legs to create distance. FightNights.com scored the fight 115-112 for Golovkin, who has two consecutive bouts since losing a majority decision to Canelo Alvarez last September.
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The first two bouts with Canelo were classics, with Golovkin contentiously failing to win either fight - the judges scoring the first a draw and the second to the Mexican.
"This was a tough fight", Golovkin said. Everything is ready. Just call Canelo. "This is huge experience for me". I need to still get stronger in my camp.
With his back firmly against the wall, much of his face masked in blood, Derevyanchenko defiantly exploded out of his corner for the third as if his career precariously sat on the line, thudding home a barrage of body blows that had the iron-chinned "GGG" suddenly wilting backwards, his elbows hanging low in clear discomfort. I need a little bit more.
According to CompuBox, Derevyanchenko landed more punches on Golovkin than in any of his 25 tracked fights.
"GGG" could not have wished to get off to a better start inside The Garden, dropping his man inside the first three minutes, Derevyanchenko suffering the same first-round fate that proved costly in his defeat to Daniel Jacobs just under a year ago.