By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Sergey Kovalev confirmed Saturday that he’ll no longer work with longtime trainer John David Jackson.
The former light heavyweight champion called Jackson “a nice guy” during an interview session with reporters at MGM Grand, yet revealed he doesn’t feel he learned much from Jackson during their time together. Their parting of ways was expected since Andre Ward stopped Kovalev in the eighth round of their light heavyweight championship rematch June 17 at Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Jackson also has been publicly critical recently of Kovalev’s performance in his second fight against Ward.
“The whole time I worked with John David Jackson, he gave me nothing,” Kovalev said. “I got nothing from him except mitts work. I didn’t feel him [helping] in the ring because everything in my preparation was constructed myself. … I don’t wanna say any bad words [about Jackson]. He’s a nice guy, but he’s not the coach for me. He’s not enough coach for me.”
Russia’s Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) hasn’t chosen a new trainer, but expects to do so soon because he’ll start training camp later this month for his fight against Ukraine’s Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KOs) on November 25 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden (HBO). Kovalev said Saturday that Freddie Roach and Abel Sanchez aren’t among the options he is considering, but wouldn’t discuss trainers with whom he has spoken.
Whichever trainer Kovalev picks, he wants more instruction from him, particularly between rounds in fights.
“A coach should help you inside the ring, in between rounds, when you have one minute for rest,” Kovalev said. “To explain or be able to help you [with] say tactics. Where and when to punch, I know myself because I’m in boxing since I was 11. But he should say tactics – how to open his target or [how to] move to the left or right, or back or forward. Because emotions and adrenaline of every fighter inside the ring is very high. Fighters don’t see like a lot of things [trainers] can see from the side.”
Egis Klimas, Kovalev’s manager, understands why Kovalev seeks new direction in his corner.
“What Sergey is saying is [Jackson] might be a good trainer and he is a good guy,” Klimas said, “but at this point he thinks he needs a teacher who can take him to the next level.”
Klimas also addressed Jackson’s contention that Kovalev didn’t listen to his instructions and essentially tried to train himself.
“Then he’s not a trainer,” Klimas said. “When he had a trainer come from Russia, he didn’t dictate to the trainer. A good trainer, when it comes to good training, he dictates to the fighter what to do. If the fighter says to the trainer what we’re gonna do and how we’re gonna do it, then he’s not a trainer.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.