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John David Jackson reveals keys for a Sergey Kovalev win over Andre Ward

Jackson says Kovalev can’t get behind the eight ball against Ward, hoping to play catch-up.

Bernard Hopkins & Sergey Kovalev Media Workout Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

With the big showdown scheduled for this weekend, Sergey Kovalev’s trainer John David Jackson reveals some of his game plan heading into the fight against Andre Ward. In an interview with RingTV, Jackson says Kovalev will have to do these things in order to get a win:

“In order to beat Ward, Sergey has to be able to cut the ring off. He has to make Ward engage and if Ward engages he will make himself vulnerable and leave himself open to the counter-punches. Sergey also has to beat his body down and make Ward, as the rounds go by, depleted of his energy. Then he will get him late with a knockout.”

Jackson also mentions that Kovalev can’t risk getting off to a slow start, allowing Ward to carry the early rounds. Instead he wants Kovalev to impose his size and strength early and often, wearing down Ward for the back-end of the fight.

“What Sergey has to prevent Ward from doing is getting into a trap of falling behind in rounds. He can’t let Ward get two, three, four, five, six rounds ahead where he is behind the eight ball trying to play catch-up. Sergey has to come out of the gate and establish his power, his strength and his boxing abilities. If he does not win the first three rounds, he at least has to keep him even, so down the stretch as he begins to deplete Ward of his power, he will get him with either a late-round knockout or dominate the later rounds and win by decision...”

Jackson finishes by saying that he believes European fighters such as Kovalev are hungrier than their American counterparts because they come up from harsher living conditions. He expects Kovalev to leverage this hunger to capitalize on ‘three major mistakes’ he believes Ward continues to make — although he won’t reveal what those are until fight night.