In one of the final cards on HBO Boxing, Daniel Jacobs and Sergiy Derevyanchenko put on a show worthy of the network's legendary history in the sport. After 12 rounds of competitive fighting, Jacobs was declared victorious by a dramatic split decision, earning the vacant IBF middleweight belt.
The bout got off to a bit of a slow start, which wasn't much of a surprise considering the sparring partners estimated that they've sparred nearly. For the first 45 seconds or so, they barely threw, feinting and moving around the ring instead. But by the end of the first round, we had our first major moment of the fight, as Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs) dropped Derevyanchenko with an overhand right.
From there, however, neither fighter was able to gain a sustained advantage. At times, the fight mirrored the opening half-minute of the first round with the two fighters paying each other respect and making the fight difficult to score. There were plenty of stretches, however, where the two traded absolute bombs.
In the end, despite Derevyanchenko's best efforts in the 12th and final round, it was Jacobs -- buoyed by his early knockdown -- who two judges saw as doing enough to earn the result. This was the first professional loss for Derevyanchenko (12-1, 10 KOs).
Now, with the IBF belt on his waist, the focus turns to where Jacobs will go from here. Following the bout, he made his intentions clear. "We want Canelo [Alvarez]," Jacobs told Max Kellerman in the ring.
That may eventually come to pass, but not for a while, as Alvarez' next fight is already set for Dec. 15. He'll beto super middleweight to take on WBA (regular) super champion Rocky Fielding.