Former world champion and world class trainer, John David Jackson, is the head cornerman of one of the most feared punchers in the sport, Sergey Kovalev. Kovalev is coming off of a controversial decision loss to former undisputed super middleweight champion, Andre Ward. The fight was dominated early by Kovalev, but Ward recovered from an early knockdown and performed well late to squeeze out 114-113 scores from all three judges.
In part 2 of my interview with John David Jackson, I discuss with him his views on the Kovalev-Ward fight and what he thought of the decision. Jackson talks about the commotion in the corner and what he was telling Kovalev as Ward came back into the fight. Additionally, John shares his thoughts on how a rematch would play out and when he expects Kovalev back in the ring. Here is what John David Jackson had to say.
Jenna J: Sergey Kovalev fought Andre Ward and didn’t emerge victorious even though most people thought he should have. How are you dealing with the disappointment of that loss?
John David Jackson: Boxing is boxing, it happens and you have to move on. I thought he won the fight 9-3 or 8-4 at the worst, for us. I thought Sergey won at least eight rounds, if not nine. It’s boxing. I can’t blame Ward, he’s a good fighter, all he did was fight, it was the judges that made the decision. It was a bad decision and hopefully the rematch will be honored and they will fight between April and no later than June.
Jenna J: Did you notice a turn in the fight where Andre was being effective with his boxing in the second half of the fight? Did you say anything to Kovalev to try to get him back on track?
John David Jackson: The first half Sergey did well, the second half Ward began to get back into the fight. I had the second half of the fight 3-3. The problem was, in my corner they had another Russian guy doing all the speaking, so the second half of the fight I was limited to what I could say. I don’t know why but Sergey had this guy doing all the talking, but it’s his corner and he does what he does so I left it alone. I don’t know what they were saying, but the first half of the fight, he definitely dominated that.
The first half I had it either 5-1 or 6-0, and the second half I had 3-3. Sergey kind of slowed down in the second half of the fight, so the only thing I would do differently with Sergey is to get the conditioning a little bit better so in the second half of the fight you don’t fizzle out.
Jenna J: A lot of people think the rematch would be easier for Ward being as he’s been in the ring with him, but they aren’t giving credit to Kovalev and how he’s going to be better the next time around after being in with Ward for twelve rounds. What do you think about that?
John David Jackson: You kind of hit it on the head for me. If you really ask yourself, what can Ward do differently to really improve on the second fight? He can’t punch any harder, he can’t move any faster — because then he’s really running — he has to stand there and fight. He got knocked down and it wasn’t a solid hit, it was a bit of a flash knockdown, he didn’t get hit solid. What’s going to happen if he decides to stand and really fight with Sergey this time?
Ward didn’t fight the first time, he ran. How much more can Andre really improve on in the second fight? He can’t be a bigger puncher. Can he throw more shots? Yes he can but it leaves him even more vulnerable for counters. On the flip side, Sergey can improve more, he can improve on his conditioning, his selection of punches and cutting the ring off better. Sergey can improve but Andre can’t improve much on what he did.
All these so called experts in boxing that are saying that Andre is going to improve more, they must be crazy. He can’t improve more. He doesn’t want to stand and punch with Sergey, he doesn’t want to move more because if he does, he’s running. How much more can he improve? If they feel they can do better, great, that means they’re going to stand and fight with Sergey more than they did the first time, and then you’re vulnerable for counter punching.
Jenna J: How likely do you think it is that the rematch happens next?
John David Jackson: It’s up to Andre and what he wants to do. For the sake of boxing it would be great if the rematch happened immediately like it should. Will it happen? The ball is in Andre’s court, so it’s up to him at this point.
Jenna J: How soon would you like Sergey getting back in the ring?
John David Jackson: No later than April, maybe sooner but no later than April.