Danny Jacobs won the IBF middleweight title Saturday night, pulling out a thrilling split decision over Sergiy Derevyanchenko. (photos by Ed Mulholland)
Jacobs scored a first-round knockdown and that helped him build just enough of a lead to hold on in a tight finish in which both fighters were swinging wildly across the late rounds.
He won 115-112 on two judges’ cards, while Derevyanchenko won 114-113 on the other card.
Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs) took the belt that was vacated when Gennady Golovkin chose not to fight Derevyanchenko, his mandatory challenger, this spring while awaiting his rematch with Canelo Alvarez.
Alvarez won that bout and now Jacobs said that’s the fight he wants next. Derevyanchenko (12-1) fell just short in his long-awaited first shot at a title.
He wanted it in the spring but Golovkin wouldn’t face Derevyanchenko, his mandatory challenger, when he searched for another opponent after Alvarez’s failed drug test caused the original date for their rematch to be scrapped.
Derevyanchenko showed why even Golovkin wouldn’t have wanted him, landing big shots to Jacobs’ body in the middle rounds and just missing with some to the head that could have done major damage later.