November 23, 2017
November 23, 2017
sergey kovalev

Stacey Verbeek

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IT’S no secret about my split with Sergey Kovalev.

Everyone is aware of the news now and there’s been some stuff wrote about why we parted, but the truth is that I just don’t think that he’s a nice person. He’s a very cold man and I was willing to help him out as a favour to Don Turner but eventually it went the same way for me as it did with Turner and it did with Abel Sanchez. The time has got to come when Sergey looks at himself and perhaps admit that he’s the problem.

Sergey Kovalev
ANGRY YOUNG MAN: Kovalev remains one of boxing’s most fearsome characters

I’ve got no issue whatsoever saying this stuff about Sergey Kovalev because I think people deserve to know the truth about our partnership going wrong, but it wasn’t the most perfect relationship to begin with.

John David Jackson
BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP: Jackson claims he and Kovalev were never friends

You won’t believe me when I tell you this but there are not many people who are close to Sergey and even those who are allowed into his circle will more than likely tell you that he’s not a good man.
There’s no doubts that me and Sergey had many great nights together but they were purely on a professional basis. We didn’t hang out when we were outside the gym, it was just a fighter and a trainer working together and getting good results.

Who knows what might’ve happened if we had a better understanding with each other, but you’ll have to ask Sergey about that because he wasn’t always willing to do what I asked him. If he did then he would’ve been a far better fighter than the one you’re used to seeing.

That second Andre Ward fight was no surprise to me because I knew Sergey couldn’t match Andre on the inside and there’s been some talk about Kovalev being weak to the stomach. I knew that and Sergey probably knew that but he’d done okay up to certain point fighting a certain level of guy, but Ward was a million times better than anything Sergey had seen before and that showed over the two fights. Ward can’t punch the hardest and he’s not the quickest but he knows how to use every single inch of that ring and that, for me, is the best quality a fighter can have. When you have a brain like Ward’s then it’s better than any other attribute.

boxing results
TOO GOOD: Ward defeats Kovalev in the return – a result Jackson feared

The first fight was a fight that Sergey definitely won though and I do give him credit for his performance in the early going. I knew that first fight was our best chance to beat him because Ward had been quite inactive and his level of opposition couldn’t compare with who Sergey had been facing. We knew he was taking a step up and it showed in the first few rounds, and then Sergey let him get back into after halfway. For me, Ward just done better late on than what he did in the earlier rounds and that fooled some of the judges. It was a 9-3 [rounds] fight for me or 8-4 at a push but there’s no way I can have Ward a winner. That first fight was one we had to win as the rematch definitely favoured Ward.

Me and Kovalev have now gone our separate ways so time will tell what impact I had on him. I didn’t know too much about his opponent, [Vyacheslav] Shabranskyy, but I decided to have a little watch of him. He’ll go for Kovalev’s body early and that is his best option. He’ll have seen what Ward done in the second fight but he’s nowhere near as talented as him so he’ll have to take a few shots back to even get near Kovalev. Sergey still does things well, especially from distance, and no one is in a better position than me to tell you his power is real. Shabranskyy will have to apply himself intelligently and walk Kovalev down and if he can force him back and get to his body. That’s his best chance.
I’ll watch the fight and see what happens and see how Kovalev looks but my priorities over the next few weeks have nothing to do with Sergey for the first time in long while. I’ll enjoy the fight and then I’m off to link up with Bryant Jennings for his next fight. That will take up my time until the middle of December and then we’ll see what happens next.

READ THE REST OF THIS WEEK’S BOXING NEWS, THAT FEATURES THE FULL KOVALEV-SHBRANSKYY PREVIEW INCLUDING AN IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW WITH MISFIRING UNDERCARD STAR, YURIORKIS GAMBOA