Former world champion and current boxing trainer, John David Jackson is the lead cornerman for one of boxing’s most feared fighters, Sergey Kovalev. Jackson and Kovalev have had great success working with each other, with Kovalev having secured the WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight title belts. On November 19th, Sergey Kovalev will have his first PPV match against former undisputed super middleweight champion, Andre Ward, a fight that could not only decide who is the the best light heavyweight in the world, but also the best pound-for-pound fighter in the boxing.
In part 1 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with John David Jackson, I get his views on the Kovalev vs. Ward fight becoming official and his thoughts on the tune up fights both boxers took before it. Jackson also talks about people viewing Ward as the favorite, due to Kovalev’s performance in his last fight. Additionally, John speaks on Kovalev having his first PPV and if this is the biggest fight of Kovalev’s career. Here is what John David Jackson had to say.
Jenna J: What are your thoughts on the fight between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev coming together?
John David Jackson: It’s a good fight, it’s a fight that the public wants. The fight has a lot of intrigue, both guys are hungry, how hungry Ward is at this stage? I don’t know, but he’s still one of the best out there, so it’s definitely a fight that the fans deserve to see. I’m glad that it’s happening and I’m glad to be part of it.
Jenna J: Were you worried about both Andre and Sergey having interim fights and having something happen that would prevent the fight from happening?
John David Jackson: Not really worried about them. The opponents were very beatable, but they were the fights that they needed. I don’t think Sergey took Chilemba as serious as he should have, but that’s okay because he still did what he was supposed to do and he dominated the fight. It wasn’t one of his best performances but he did win.
On the other hand, Brand was an opponent that Ward should have stopped. For whatever reason he didn’t, but he did what he was supposed to do and he won the fight. Both fighters did what they were supposed to do, could each one of them been more spectacular? Probably, but a win is a win.
Jenna J: Some people are gauging the performance with Chilemba and saying that now Andre Ward is the favorite. What do you have to say to those people?
John David Jackson: They are entitled to their opinion. Don’t read too much into it because on the flip side of that, Andre should have knocked out Brand, he should have stopped him and the fact that he didn’t stop him alludes to what I’ve always said, Ward is not a power puncher. He’s a good boxer but a puncher he’s not and that’s going to be his biggest drawback.
The fact that his chin has been tested and he’s been dropped. This fight is going to be a test of will, can he withstand Sergey’s power for twelve hard rounds? Can he be evasive for twelve rounds to nullify the power of Sergey Kovalev? That’s going to be a hard road to take. Can he do it, we’ll see.
Jenna J: How do you gauge Andre Ward in the light heavyweight division?
John David Jackson: The Barrera fight was the better fight to gauge him on because he fought a world class fighter — not a real experienced world class fighter, but a world class fighter at that level with the ranking that he had. The Brand fight he was supposed to win that fight, he was supposed to stop him but he couldn’t.
I really can’t gauge on both performances by either fighter because those were kind of like tune up fights. People should not gauge how they’re going to fight each other based on both performances because they were sub par performances against guys that they were supposed to beat and they did beat. You really can’t measure how they’re going to fight each other off of those fights.
Jenna J: Do you think this fight will be a pay-per-view success?
John David Jackson: I don’t see this as Sergey’s biggest fight because Bernard was bigger, the name and the status, being a Hall of Fame fighter and just the mystique of Bernard Hopkins. I think the Hopkins fight was bigger, it wasn’t a pay-per-view fight but it definitely had a bigger magnitude because of the person that Sergey was fighting.
Ward’s prime years have slid by him, with the lawsuit with the Goossen promotion that made him have to sit on the shelf for a few years. This fight here is not as big as the Hopkins fight but for Sergey it can catapult him into a superstar fighter and a pay-per-view fighter. For Ward it’s more of a fight to get back in the limelight as he once was. He’s just trying to get back in the game and Kovalev is trying to put that stamp of approval on it.