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Jackson Leads Kovalev

John David Jackson

L-R: Sergey Kovalev & John David Jackson

Article written by Steve Kim

In the last year, Sergey Kovalev has become a fighter on the rise. Since June of last year, he has racked up four impressive stoppage victories (where none of the fights have gone past round three) and he faces WBO light heavyweight titlist Nathan Cleverly this Saturday in Wales as part of the HBO tripleheader. Trainer John David Jackson, who has overseen Kovalev’s recent development, believes they are just scratching the surface of his abilities.

“He’s a tremendous talent, tremendous puncher,” Jackson told Maxboxing. “HBO, they fell in love with the kid and, hopefully, he can make that grow into dollars and sense for himself. He’s a better boxer than people realize. He hasn’t had a chance to showcase his true boxing talent because most of his fights last three rounds or less.”
Kovalev has a record of 21-0-1 with 19 stoppages. Jackson, a former world champion during his days as a pugilist, believes that early or late, they will eventually get to Cleverly, who possesses a feather duster to Kovalev’s sledgehammer.
“If Nathan Cleverly can evade or avoid the punching power of Sergey for three rounds, the television audience will see really how much boxing skill Sergey really has,” stated Jackson.
The Kovalev-Jackson union began about a year-and-a-half ago. He says of the evolution of the Russian, “When we first got together, Sergey could box but you really couldn’t tell because the people he was with prior, they tried to make him into more of a puncher, just capitalize on his true punching ability. But he’s evolved now. I would show him small things and make him bring out the boxing ability that he has and allow him to set up and dissect his opponents slowly, well...quickly, in his case.
“He’s evolved now because the boxing skill is there and as the fights are tougher and tougher, he will have to rely on that more than his power because I tell him, ‘One day you’re going to meet a guy who will take everything you throw at him. So you’ve got to have that boxing skill and not get discouraged if you’re not knocking guys out.’ He doesn’t get discouraged; he doesn’t care if he hits you once or a thousand times. All he wants to do is beat you but the boxing skills are coming around. He’s a very intelligent fighter and I think as he gets to the upper echelon in the light heavyweight division, he’s going to have to rely on that boxing skill more.”
Will that be the case on Saturday night?
“Well, their side’s talking tremendously. In one breath, the father [and trainer, Vince Cleverly]’s saying, ‘Nathan’s going to box him. He’s going to run and box him.’ But Nathan says, ‘No, I’m going to stay in there and punch with this guy, show him I’m a true puncher. I’m the better puncher.’ So I think it’s a little bit of both; he’s going to be evasive when he can and if he feels for some reason he can punch, I think he’s going to try and stand in there and do that.
“I think that’s going to be his downfall. If he tries to stand in the pocket and punch with Sergey, [Kovalev]’s guns are that loaded. With the lack of artillery [Cleverly] has, you can’t just stand in there and punch with Sergey. I think if it’s not an early knockout, I think Sergey will dissect him slowly. I’m looking for a six-to-eight round knockout myself, a stoppage.”
Here’s the latest episode (with plenty of callers) with Gabe Montoya and Yours Truly:
An interesting article on Edwin Rodriguez and how HBO may have led him to Al Haymon:
“All Access: Mayweather-Alvarez” will premiere on August 24th on Showtime (10 p.m., ET/7 p.m., PT). Question is, will Time Warner Cable carry Showtime by then?...Here’s my latest for on Gennady Golovkin:“Friday Night Fights” on ESPN2 starts at 9 p.m., ET from U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago...I know it’s just August but Norv Turner has that Browns offense looking good...There’s just no way Michael Vick isn’t the starting quarterback in Philly; right?...The Dodgers are scary good right now...

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