Trainer John David Jackson BLASTS Sergey Kovalev



Trainer John David Jackson BLASTS Sergey Kovalev

Trainer John David Jackson went off on boxer Sergey Kovalev, who we can safely describe now as a fighter he used to train.

Jackson, a 54 year old former champion at 154 and 160, rose to prominence as a trainer while cornering the Russian light heavyweight.

We’ve heard of a less than rosy vibe in the trainer-fighter interaction for the last couple years, and it has now been made most public. JDJ, a Florida resident, went on the ATG show and took it to the 30-2-1 Kovalev, who has lost his last two bouts, both to Andre Ward.

Team Ward in fact contacted Jackson, wondering if he might like to jump ship to the Ward side, after the first Ward win (Nov. 2016) over the Russian, who is promoted by Main Events. Jackson admitted before the Ward-Kovalev rematch, which unfolded on June 17, that he entertained the offering, and would have maybe leaped to the rival’s side if the money was right. That indicated an instability within that camp, which has now exploded into full-on divorce mode, at least on the Jackson side.

“Right now by the way it looks now, I am not his trainer anymore,” Jackson told host Michael Doss.

He led with that jab, setting the table, and then went into power punching. “I knew that we could have won the rematch but Sergey started making money, getting big headed and he didn’t want to train hard anymore. Every camp was worse and worse,” said Jackson, who thinks if Kovalev fights again, he is “damaged goods.”

Arguably the hardest launch was this one: “I was doing some body work on Sergey, I made him fold up. I’m 54 years old and he couldn't take it.”

He continued, calling the 34 year old a “quitter” and said Kovalev wanted to cut Jackson’s purse for every fight after they'd been together awhile. More? He called Kovalev a “dick” and said he’s selfish. More still? Kovalev loves seeing his logo all over the place, and is all but done at 175, where, Jackson said, he had trouble making weight. Jackson admitted that he thought Artur Beterbiev would have beaten Kovalev, but Ward got there first.

Main Events boss Kathy Duva is aware of the JDJ bomb drop. “I have not had the chance to discuss (a trainer switch) with him,” she told me. “He is still on vacation in Russia.”

We assume Kovalev will air out his side of the relationship, so stay tuned. This is setting up to be the nastiest divorce boxing has seen in many moons.

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.