For the second time in his career, Daniel Jacobs can call himself a middleweight world champion.
In the main event of an HBO boxing card from Madison Square Garden, Jacobs outlasted Sergiy Derevyanchenko thanks to a first-round knockdown to win the vacant IBF middleweight title. Jacobs won the fight by split decision, with two judges scoring the fight 115-112 in favor of Jacobs while a third judge had Derevyanchenko winning 114-113.
The bout was a wild and scrappy affair that saw both men add 12 more rounds to the 300-plus rounds of sparring sessions they have had for years. Once the fight ended, both men embraced each other in a sign of mutual respect.
As for the start of the fight, things went very well for Jacobs. Jacobs knocked down Derevyanchenko late in the first round and was effectively landing body shots. Derevyanchenko managed to recover after the knockdown and be the aggressor against Jacobs.
Derevyanchenko pushed Jacobs to the ropes, landed the right hand and left hook upstairs and looked comfortable fighting in the pocket. But Jacobs managed to defend well at times and picked his shots to land the bigger punches throughout the fight.
After winning a lot of the middle rounds, Jacobs started to run away with the fight on the scorecards. Derevyanchenko, however, refused to go down quietly and threw a flurry of punches in the 10th round that stunned Jacobs. Derevyanchenko and Jacobs had a wild final round with both men exchanging big shots, but Derevyanchenko got the better of the exchanges. Despite the spirited effort by Derevyanchenko in the final three rounds, the first-round knockdown proved to be the deciding factor in the final scorecards.
Jacobs was the more accurate puncher, landing 181 of 578 total punches (31 percent) while Derevyanchenko landed 160 of 658 total punches (24 percent). Derevyanchenko may have thrown more power punches than Jacobs, but Jacobs was very efficient in that department, connecting on 45 percent of his 306 power shots thrown in the fight.
With Jacobs, a former WBA "regular" middleweight titleholder who could re-sign with Matchroom Boxing USA, he could set himself up for big unification fights against the likes of new WBO champion Demetrius Andrade, another fighter signed to the promotional company, as well as WBA “super” and IBF champion Canelo Alvarez.