Trainer and former 154 and 160 pound champ John David Jackson says that Sergey Kovalev is a serious danger to Chad Dawson, and talks about what it's like to train Kimbo Slice.
Corey Erdman, The Fight Network: "Corey Erdman here with legendary fighter and trainer to the stars John David Jackson, who's here in Toronto with Richard Hall, who just fell in defeat to Denton Daley, but I think, John, gave some solid lessons to a young fighter."
John David Jackson: "Yeah, he may have given him a couple solid lessons, but the kid came away. He did the right thing, he stayed away from Richard, boxed. He may have felt Richard's power early, and he said, 'Listen, let me stay on the outside, and box the old man,' which was the right thing to do. We were hoping for a win, but unfortunately, the young kid was smart and stayed away."
Erdman: "Richard seems to have a little bit of power left, and he had Denton in the corner at times. Were you telling him to go after it, or do you think Daley was setting some traps?"
Jackson: "We had to go after it. That was the only way to beat this kid. Richard did well in spots. In other spots, he didn't. He's getting old. It's time to, you know, hang up the gloves. He did the best he could, it just wasn't good enough to win the fight. I take my hat off to the kid. He did the right thing. He fought the way I thought, honestly, he was gonna fight. I was hoping he'd come at us, but he boxed and stayed away."
Erdman: "Let's talk about one of your up-and-coming fighters, a guy who's really on the world stage now, in Sergey Kovalev. Did you guys expect to wipe out Gabriel Campillo the way that you did? Because I don't think the boxing public, anyone, expected that."
Jackson: "Honestly, I did. I told the commentator before the fight at the pre-fight meaning, I said, 'Listen, Campillo's good. Everybody blows him out the water and says he's great, but he's not.' His defense is a little lacking. And I knew if Kovalev hit him, it wouldn't last long. Plus, Campillo has no power. If you can't keep a puncher like Kovalev off you, you're in trouble. So I pretty much figured it'd go the way it went. I told him it might not go past three rounds. Kovalev's making me look pretty good right now."
Erdman: "I think everyone was impressed with him, but I think people still want to know, is Kovalev a true puncher at 175?"
Jackson: "Trust me, he's the real deal at 175. The kid that he knocked out before Lionell Thompson, I heard recently that he told another guy in Florida, he's been in with Bernard, he's sparred with Dawson, he's sparred with Pascal, he's sparred with a lot of light heavyweights. He said no one, no one hits like Kovalev at all. And I believe that. Kovalev, when he punches, you can hear it in the audience. He punches that good. So I expect big things from him. We're hoping to secure a title fight for him this year. I believe that he will rule the division. My big dream is him and (Andre) Ward at 175. I want to Ward to fight him at 175. Not go to Oakland. Come to some place neutral. I believe Kovalev will beat him."
Erdman: "If not Ward, if he has to take a step, is Chad Dawson an option for Kovalev at this point?"
Jackson: "How many options does Chad really have? After the Ward fight -- terrible. There's not many marquee fights out for him and the money's not there for him. HBO has, I think they have one fight with him. This would be the logical fight to take. If he doesn't take it, he might get stripped, I don't know how it would work out, but for Chad, that's a fight that's out there. Hopefully he would take it. I expect a win from Kovalev, but it's a great fight."
Erdman: "Certainly a tough boxing matchup, but you still have to feel good with Dawson coming off a knockout loss at 168, and then you have a true puncher, a guy who can really bang. You might be able to catch him while he's vulnerable."
Jackson: "I think he's vulnerable. You know, Chad's a real mysterious guy. One day he's on, one day he's off. His mental state, we're not sure if he's stable or not. I'm not saying he's crazy, but just mentally, he's not focused sometimes. Having said that, and seeing his last fight, his last few fights, he hasn't looked that good, really. I think Kovalev stands a really good chance of not only beating him, but whatever's left of his career, pretty much ending it for him."
Erdman: "Another guy that you work with, who a lot of maybe the fringe boxing fans would know you from working with, Kimbo Slice, who just came off of an exciting fight over in Australia. What is it like working with Kimbo? People maybe see him as a circus act or whatever they want to call him, but does he put in good work in the gym? Is he taking this seriously?"
Jackson: "When he's in the gym, he gives you 110 percent. When you get him in the gym, he gives 110 percent. It's getting him in the gym that's the problem. What I told his manager was, listen, line up his next fight for him. If you give him a date, he'll be there. If you don't give him a date, you won't see him. Listen, he's a good street fighter. Did a little UFC, I guess he didn't do so well. Did great in spots, but didn't do well in other spots. Boxing, he's just, to me, I don't take it serious with him like a Klitschko or somebody like that. No, listen, make the money you make, you're making great money. Make it. A lot of guys can't make that money for a four-round fight. Hey, it's what you do. Get serious and make all you can make. If they try to put you with somebody in the top ten, well let's make sure it's worth your while. Win, lose, or draw, you come out, you're paid, and that's the bottom line. He's a good story for boxing. Will he be world champion? I can't say he will, I can't say he won't. I can just say, enjoy what he's doing. It's fun to ride with Kimbo. If he's in a fight, he's gonna give you 110 percent of what he has. What will he be? Only time will tell, and whatever he does, will determine how he does in boxing."
Erdman: "Maybe it's a silly question, but what do you think you can improve in Kimbo? I know when you were in the corner, you were just telling him keep your friggin' hands up. That was the main message you gave him in the last fight, but is that the key?"
Jackson: "Well, he likes to get hit every fight 'til it wakes him up. But listen, you might get hit by somebody and you might not wake back up. The defense, we always try to make sure that he stays focused and keeps his hands up. How far he goes, I don't know. It depends what Kimbo does. He could be a short run, he could be a long run. I don't foresee a title, I'm not trying to get a title for him. I'm trying to get him all the wins he can get, and make all they money he can while he can."
Erdman: "There's a lot of UFC guys jumping over, maybe he can beat them up once they make the jump."
Jackson: "That's great. You can do that, these guys come over, it makes for exciting boxing anyway. I'm not saying scientific, I'm saying exciting. That's what the fans want. Exciting. Kimbo gives you that. We'll see what happens."