Face to face, Jaime Munguia (41-0, 33 KOs) looks way bigger than Sergiy Derevyanchenko (14-4, 10 KOs). He’s also eleven years younger than Derevyanchenko. On top of that, the Ukraine’s Derevyanchenko is coming into Saturday’s bout with the Mexican 1-3 in his last four bouts, 2-4 in his last six. Oh yeah, and he’ll be moving up to super middleweight against the bursting-at-the-seams native of Tijuana.
Still, the 37-year-old 3-time world title challenger represents the best fighter on Munguia’s resume– some would say, the best by far. That’s a pretty damning assessment for a fighter in Munguia, who’s been either a world champ or a no. 1 contender for much of the last five years.
At Toyota Arena in Ontario, California, atop a card broadcast live on DAZN, the 26-year-old Munguia will not only be looking to win, but he’ll be looking to impress by becoming the first person to stop Derevyanchenko– who’s faced names such as Gennadiy Golovkin, Jermall Charlo, Daniel Jacobs, and Carlos Adames as a pro.
With an impressive win, Munguia might be able to deflect some of the criticism he gets for years spent talking up his desire to face the best, while, at the same time, turning down fights against “best” opposition like Carlos Adames, Janibek Alimkhanuly, and Demetrius Andrade.
Still, Munguia grasps at the narrative that nobody, especially WBC champ Jermall Charlo, really wants to fight him.
“We’ve been looking for that fight years ago, Munguia told FightHype.com, in reference to a title fight with Charlo. “We don’t know exactly what’s happening with him. He is about two years and a half not entering the ring, and hopefully, someday, it’s going to happen.”
He also continues to grasp at the narrative that he wants to fight the very best.
“A [David] Benavidez fight would be huge; it would be a great accomplishment for me. Benavidez is a really strong and tough guy, but I feel I’m capable of showing him that I’m really strong. It’ll be a great fight,” Munguia added.
Then, as is usually the case after talking up the fights he claims to want, he has to talk about the lesser foe he’ll be facing instead of the true top guys. In this case, that foe is Sergiy Derevyanchenko, who should be a much tougher challenge than guys like Jimmy Kelly, Spike O’Sullivan, and Brandon Cook.
“He’s a very good fighter. He always performs well, and definitely, for this fight, he’s doing the camp of his life. He’s coming for me, but in the same way, I’m preparing for him.
“Guys like [Daniel] Jacobs put him down, and I feel capable of knocking him out. I feel really powerful at 168, so let’s see. In some ways, being at 168 is great for me. It’s a great weight. I think I’m better at 168, but if something is interesting at 160, I’m definitely going for it.”
Derevyanchenko is a man of few words and tends to do his talking with fists in the ring. Still, the opportunity this Munguia fight represents can’t be lost on him. A big win on Saturday night would not only bag him the vacant WBC silver super middleweight title, it would also earn him another big payday in the immediate future and, perhaps, a chance to finally capture a world title.
Ever the no-nonsense man, Derevyanchenko appears to be focused on the business at hand and on his own performance.
“I do not worry about Munguia or his team overlooking me,” Derevyanchenko said at Thursday’s final press conference. “That is a problem for Munguia and his team; that’s their problem, not mine. I am focused on the fight, so on Saturday, we will see.”
And, yeah, fans will see what’s what with Munguia this Saturday and if the Mexican battler is truly worthy of his main stage spot.