Gennadiy Golovkin insisted that “nobody respects” Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez as he prepares to return to the ring tonight.

Golovkin and Sergiy Derevyanchenko will contest the vacant IBF middleweight title at 2am, live on Sky Sports Action.

Former champion Golovkin has been antagonised by questions about the only man to defeat him, Canelo, and said: “You think somebody respects Canelo? Nobody.

This weekend, A Big Drama Show is on it's way to Sky Sports 🕺💥👑 @GGGBoxing looks to become a world champion once again when he takes on @SDerevyanchenko📺 2am, Sunday Morning (Saturday night) Sky Sports Action pic.twitter.com/zix7FuamTW

— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) October 3, 2019

GGG believes he won both fights against Canelo GGG believes he won both fights against Canelo GGG believes he won both fights against Canelo

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“You think somebody respects [Canelo’s promoters] Golden Boy? Nobody.

“It is so bad, the situation. People support my side, my style. Nobody supports these guys.”

Golovkin and Canelo drew their first fight, an eagerly-anticipated world middleweight championship fight in 2017. Canelo failed a drug test to delay their rematch, then won a majority decision. The saga still wrangles the previously-unbeaten Golovkin who insists he deserved to win both fights.

Canelo has proved elusive to pin down for a trilogy, too. He will step up two divisions on November 2 to challenge for Sergey Kovalev’s world light-heavyweight title meaning Golovkin has been left with an itch to scratch.

This could be bad news for tonight’s opponent Derevyanchenko, who Golovkin would like to turn into a punch-bag to unleash his frustrations.

But Derevyanchenko is a serious test – he was part of the Ukrainian Olympic team in 2012 alongside Vasiliy Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk. He hasn’t yet reached the great heights of compatriots, losing for the only time in his first world title fight against Danny Jacobs via split decision.

GGG faces Derevyanchenko - tonight, 2am, Sky Sports Action GGG faces Derevyanchenko - tonight, 2am, Sky Sports Action GGG faces Derevyanchenko – tonight, 2am, Sky Sports Action

🤕 "I felt paralysed"🤕 "My nose has never been the same since"🤕 "Body shots? Something popped out of my stomach!"@GGGBoxing POWER EXPLAINED: https://t.co/X02wG5dtYE pic.twitter.com/QwVcQgK6FJ

— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) October 4, 2019

There is a feeling, however, that Derevyanchenko might catch Golovkin at an opportune moment. Aged 37, GGG knows that time is not his friend.

“This is a fight for Golovkin which will take the edge off him,” Billy Joe Saunders, a potential future foe, said.

“It will put a bit more age on him.

“This fight is not about standing back technically, ping ping ping. This will be crash, bang, wallop.

“It will be over quickly. Whoever the winner, it will be a war.”

Golovkin has split from long-term trainer Abel Sanchez and joined Johnathon Banks, and also linked up with promoter Eddie Hearn, who said about future fights: “You’ve got Demetrius Andrade. I would love Demetrius Andrade to fight Golovkin or Canelo.

“We’ve got Billy Joe Saunders at 168lbs. Has the ability to come back down to 160lbs. Danny Jacobs is fighting at 168, but probably could still make 160. If those guys want to move up, you’ve got Callum Smith as well.

“I think the key in 2020 is get all those fights made.”

Andy Clarke’s verdict

It’s a good fight and one that Golovkin must win to keep his hopes of a third fight against Canelo alive, something he desperately wants. Should he lose then Team Alvarez, who don’t seem all that bothered about sharing the ring with GGG again, would legitimately being able to swerve it on the grounds that their rivalry had well and truly lost its lustre.

For Derevyanchenko this is a huge fight and one that he’ll feel he’s ready for. When he boxed Jacobs for this title last October he put up a good performance, recovering from a first-round knock-down to lose narrowly. That will stand him in good stead tonight as he prepares to face a fighter in Golovkin who, although undoubtedly one of the finest middleweights of the modern era and possibly of all time, is not quite the fighter that he was – at least that seems to be what most people think.