Jackson Respects Hopkins, Still Thinks He 'Fooled' Public

By Keith Idec

NEW YORK – John David Jackson doesn’t view Saturday night as an opportunity to avenge his loss to Bernard Hopkins.

The only way Jackson could truly feel as though he exacted revenge against Hopkins for stopping him in the seventh round of their middleweight title fight 17½ years ago would be beating Hopkins in a rematch. That’s obviously impossible for the 51-year-old Jackson, who retired in 1999, but he’ll still get a sense of satisfaction if the fighter he trains, Sergey Kovalev, tops Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs, 2 NC) in their light heavyweight championship unification fight at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City (10:45 p.m. ET; HBO).

“I think the timing’s right for Sergey,” Jackson told “Bernard’s been around the block for a while, even though Bernard’s still crafty. He appears still crafty, but he’s old. The things he did as a young man, he can’t do now. He’s been able to kind of fool the public. The Shumenovs, the Murats and the Clouds, they’re robotic. He did what he wanted to do.

“When he fought Dawson, Calzaghe and to a degree Pascal, they were more athletic. Pascal was beating him till he ran out of gas. Dawson and Calzaghe did beat him. [Kovalev] is very athletic, but he’s also strong. He’s a bigger puncher than those guys are. And when he hits Bernard anywhere, Bernard’s going to feel it. If he beats Sergey, God bless him. He should be in the Hall of Fame that night. Forget that. Just knowing Bernard, the timing’s right for this kid.”

Jackson thinks “ego and greed” led to Hopkins accepting a 12-round fight he’ll enter as approximately a 2-1 underdog against Russia’s Kovalev (25-0-1, 23 KOs). But Jackson, who helped train Hopkins from 2006-2010, still respects all Hopkins has accomplished throughout a remarkable Hall-of-Fame career that began in October 1988, when Kovalev was 5.

“You have to take your hat off to Bernard,” Jackson said. “I could sit here and bad-mouth Bernard, say stupid things, but that’d make me look like a fool. With everything he’s accomplished, it’s more than even he believed he would accomplish. You have to give him credit for that. To come from the background he’s come from – he came from prison – and not to go back, Bernard’s living in a wonderful house. You have to give him credit for that. He didn’t have that at one time in his life. Now he has it. He is an example for what fighters can do. He lives clean. He does the right things to take care of himself. And most important, he takes care of his money.”

Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by FrankieBruno on 11-08-2014

[QUOTE=Boxing Goat;15081505]Hops is very old but obviously, he's an exception to the golden rule.[/QUOTE] there are no exceptions, he just hasnt been up against a tough opponent in years his age will show you cant beat the aging process

Comment by FrankieBruno on 11-08-2014

[QUOTE=Clint650;15081104]Jackson has been saying B-Hop is an old man from the start of training camp. It's Bernard and the fans he convinced that he is a better fighter now than he was 10 years ago. You see, because those losses…

Comment by EDD1 on 11-08-2014

Its just not possible to take anything away from Bernard Hopkins, unless you don't know this sport and are a casual fan that just started watching you may have a uneducated view of his career. If you are a follower…

Comment by royjonesjrKTFO on 11-08-2014

[QUOTE=hitking;15081978]I agree with Jackson to an extent. There's been a lotta smoke-n-mirrors to what Hopkins has done his entire career. He's almost as good an opportunist as he is a fighter. Every move has been planned. And every risk has…

Comment by PunchyPotorff on 11-08-2014

Kov haters/BHop fanboys have selective memory. Yeah, Kov hasn't faced the opposition BHop has, obviously. But Kov isn't just some plodding puncher. He's smarter than that, and he will give BHop many twists and turns to deal with tonight. We…

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