by David P. Greisman
John David Jackson, trainer of light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev, spoke with BoxingScene.com on March 28.
BoxingScene.com: With the news of Adonis Stevenson vs. Andrzej Fonfara heading to Showtime and the Stevenson-Kovalev fight possibly not happening, have you noticed any change in Sergey’s demeanor in camp?
Jackson: “No, we pretty much stayed focused with the task at hand, and that was Agnew. That’s because until he’s beaten, then don’t even talk about fighting Stevenson. There may be a little let down with him, but he stayed on course with this fight here and is prepared for this kid. He knows that right now the task at hand is get through Cedric Agnew. If we don’t get past him, then everything else is moot.”
BoxingScene.com: What do you think about all this? Do you think the fight’s not going to happen?
Jackson: “He [Stevenson] has a contract with HBO. I don’t know how concrete or how ironclad the contract is, but I heard he may not have signed that contract. The fact that he’s gone over to Showtime is good for him. But I don’t know in the long run if the fight will take place.”
BoxingScene.com: Do you think that Stevenson is ducking your guy?
Jackson: “To a degree.”
BoxingScene.com: In what way?
Jackson: “He don’t want to fight him. It’s a dangerous fight. He don’t want to fight him right now.”
BoxingScene.com: Do you judge him poorly for not wanting to fight?
Jackson: “From a monetary standpoint, he’s smart. He wants to get the money, he wants to maximize the most dollar value he can get with the least amount of risk. That’s smart, but you’re robbing the fans of a fight that the fans deserve to see in boxing. It’s kind of give and take. I understand the financial part. But the sporting part, it’s not good for the sport.”
BoxingScene.com: When you were a fighter, what choice would you have made?
Jackson: “I’d have fought him. Any time you get over a seven-figure payday, it’s worth the risk. I’d have fought him. I never ran from anybody. I’d have fought him. May the best man win.”
Pick up a copy of David’s new book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide. Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]