By Radio Rahim
The controversy continues.
A few days ago, BoxingScene.com first broke the news that Sergey Kovalev's head trainer, John David Jackson, held several conversations with members of Andre Ward's team - regarding the possibility of jumping ship.
Last November at T-Mobile in Las Vegas, Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) got off the floor to win a close and some felt controversial twelve round unanimous decision over Kovalev (30-1, 26 KOs) to capture the IBF, WBO, WBA light heavyweight titles.
There was a rematch clause, which Kovalev exercised, and the second fight is scheduled for June 17th, at the Mandalay Bay.
According to Ward's manager James Prince and legal adviser Josh Dubin, there were several positive conversations with Jackson - and both sides were even negotiating the numbers. In the end, they were unable to reach an agreement.
Also speaking to BoxingScene.com, Jackson confirmed that the conversations had taken place - but he disputes certain details. Ward's handlers are claiming that Jackson contacted them - while the veteran trainer is claiming they contacted him.
According to Ward, there is absolutely no doubt that Jackson reached out to his team - and he says Jackson further "incriminated" himself by stating in several interviews that if Ward's team had met his price - he would have jumped ship.
"100%, it's a fact [that he called us]. Just think of the logic, just real quick, just think of the logic of us coming up with the bright idea to call him out of the blue, and try to pluck his head trainer, knowing that there's going to be a rematch.. But just pause on that topic for one second. He incriminated himself, by saying 'if they would have took my offer, I might have been over there.' What does that say about him and his team and what's going on?," Ward said to BoxingScene.com.
"That says it all. Without going too deep into, because I'm going to let my team put it out the way they want to put it out. There is too much of a trail. It's called damage control. My attorney has a relationship with John David. They have several fighters that they work with [together]. Before the fight, they didn't talk that much. After the fight, he started reaching out and complaining about how he was being treated. He was complaining about the Russian coach. He was complaining that as they were walking to the ring, he was told that he couldn't talk beyond a certain point in the fight and I think everybody saw that. He was complaining that he couldn't understand what the other guy was saying. He didn't understand the instructions that were being given to Kovalev. And he said that Kovalev is just nasty with him - and how would I know that. He talked about how he would have loved to join our team because he said that we were good people."
Ward said the discussions fell apart over money and trust.
"He came out with some outrageous demand, money wise. My team was like 'we're doing you a favor, bringing you in.' I respect John David, he's a former fighter," Ward said. "The only problem with [hiring him], once I digested it, and it don't take a rocket scientist to figure it out - but if you're doing this to your top man - I can't trust you in the gym. And that's basically the conclusion that me and Virgil [Hunter] came to in two minutes."
"I respect John David Jackson as a trainer, but I have the best trainer in the world. No disrespect to John David, but this is not the first time that we've fought John David. That was the second time we fought John David. And John David has done nothing, from my perspective, where I would want to ditch my trainer or add to my trainer. My trainer is enough. There is no reason for us to reach out to the other side. The problem is, he got in too far, he got in too deep and even during the deliberating process he gave up way too much information about what had been going on, what was going on in their camp, what he was disgruntled. I'm a straight shooter. That's a fact, that happened and how they handle it on their side has nothing to do with me."